in the workplace. This is
important topic given that the World Health Organization estimates
that, on any given day, 121
million people worldwide suffer from depression.
reasonable to state, given these numbers, that depression has a major
impact in the workplace.
of presenting a whole lot of information to you, I think it would be
more helpful if I cover the MAIN
issues regarding depression in the
That way, we can avoid information overload!
Sound good to you?
Great! Let us now have a look as the main issues.
in Australia, research suggests that two-thirds of people who have
depression won’t seek help. I said this before, and I say it
again - the earlier a person gets help with their depression, the
greater the chances of their recovery.
But because so many don't get help, it has a significant
impact on Australian and other workplaces across the world.
example, in Australia, depression accounts for three to four days off
work per month for each person experiencing depression.
give you some idea of the dollar affect that these days of work
translate into, on average, each employee with depression symptoms will
cost their employer $9,665 per year, of which an estimated $7,878
could be recouped if the affected individuals got treatment
addition, when an employee with depression
seeks help, the outcomes are shown to have positively impacted on their
rate of recovery, absenteeism, productivity and costs to the company.
Deal With A Staff Member Who Has Depression
managers do not know how to deal with a staff member who has
depression. From my own experience one
of the most common mistakes
that managers make, is to recommend an employee have time off
when they first find out that person has depression.
is this often the worst advice from a manager?
common symptom of depression is social isolation, so if a manager
suggests that the employee has time off work, this is
highly likely to exacerbate the problem of feeling isolated.
my career, when my manager has given me time off from work, my
depression did get worse because I had too much time on my hands to
think about what a failure I was.
at home, with nothing to do but think about myself, made me even more
depressed as when
you are feeling down, your thinking is distorted.
For example, I
could not stop all the negative thoughts
about myself, such as "I am not good at my job," "I am not worthy of
having the job," and all these negative thoughts caused my self-esteem
Just by being at work and
around other people allowed me to distract myself from my depression
and not feel bad about myself because I had to take time off work.
make is if they have a staff member on their team who is
experiencing depression, and, it's perhaps impacting on their ability
to do their job; then the manager often goes into performance
of having an informal conversation with the individual about
person's health, the manager starts their company's performance
This is exactly what happened to me at one
of my jobs. What makes it an unfair and wrong approach that
manager undertook, was that when she was concerned about another staff
member's physical health,
she informally spoke to the staff member and did not jump into
performance management mode!
think that a possible solution to these two common mistakes that
managers make, is for companies to educate and train their managers
about mental illnesses.
This approach would help create a culture at work where mental health
problems are managed and responded
to in the same way as physical health problems.
is a main challenge for people who suffer from depression.
Many people think depression is just a personality
problem rather than an illness, or believe it’s not that common and
won’t affect them. These people are wrong!
is that 1 in 5 people are affected by depression at
their life. And even though I do believe that some progress has been
made in reducing the stigma of having a mental illness (depression
being the most common), there is still a long way to go.
many, many years I hid my depression from my various employers as I
felt that if they knew that I had a mental illness, then they would
view me differently...
...and I was right!
In my last
workplace, I was open about my depression and my fellow workers did
treat me differently when they knew that I had depression.
truly feel sorry for these people as they are ignorant and are sheep
following the crowd, by taking the stereotyped view of a person with a
mental illness as being "crazy" or "psycho."
Why these people
think that they can go through life not knowing anything about mental
illness, just does not make sense to me given the large numbers of
people who have a mental illness.
Even if these people don't
have a mental illness themselves, it is a sure bet that they at least
know someone with a mental illness.
The World Health Organization recently did a study
that examined data on more than 245,000 people from 60 countries.
This study found that when compared to chronic physical
diseases such as angina, arthritis, asthma and diabetes, depression may well be the most
disabling disease in the world.
you, they have not taken the time to inform themselves about mental
illnesses and depression.
you for educating yourself - I really mean
Depression As A Disability
It is an unfortunate fact that not
all employers have mental health
policies in the workplace.
may result in the employer engaging in discrimination against their
employees who have depression.
This discrimination is illegal in
Australia as depression is
recognised as a disability under the Disability Discrimination Act
What this means is,
that an employer can’t make a decision not to employ someone
because they have a mental illness.
The only exception to that, is if the person’s disability means they
can’t carry out the requirement of the job.
Decision To Disclose Their Depression
depression or some other mental illness, are not required to reveal
their illness when applying for a job.
the only exception to this, is if that disability
prevents them from carrying out the requirements of that job.
Many people (me included!) are genuinely concerned that they will lose
their job if
they disclose to their employer that they have depression.
said that, I don't see any reason to tell my employer about my
depression if it does not have an affect on my job performance - so I
don't tell them.
is a huge public health issue and needs to be recognized and treated as
an urgent public health priority.
for the reason for the stigma that is often attached to having
depression, or any mental illness, I think it is due to a lack
understanding and fear of the unknown.
I really do think that’s
the power of information — we can help breakdown some of that fear.
people without a mental illness, they’re often fearful of what
they don’t understand.
Don't forget to go to
my Facebook Fan Page where I post DAILY news about
depression. Here's the link:
Help For You With Libby Kalis
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