Depression used to be a taboo subject; people were ashamed to suffer from it, and many even questioned its existence. Thankfully, we are now in an era where mental health is viewed as something we can no longer ignore. Depression costs UK employers millions of pounds each year in sick days and decreased productivity, but it’s not just the monetary impact that I am concerned about.

Depression is a common mental health disorder, and suffers experience mood swings, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth. They also often experience sleep disruptions and lack energy and the ability to concentrate. Each and everyone of us experience these things once in a while, but those suffering from depression can feel like this for no reason at all- there doesn’t have to be a reason for someone to be depressed and unlike when we simply feel under the weather, these moods don’t tend to pass by quickly.

The main concern of mine is why Workplace Depression is on the rise. Is it simply that we are more open about discussing the topic than we have been in previous years, or is it due to the rising cost of living, economic uncertainty or new pressures being put on those of us at work? If left untreated depression can result in a number of long-term illnesses that can do a lot more than cost us a few days off work.

It’s great to hear mental health is now getting the exposure it needs and so here’s what you personally can do if you know of anyone, or you yourself think you may be suffering:

Respect Courage:

It takes an awful lot for someone to reach out, or to admit to themselves that there may be a problem. If someone opens up to you about his or her mental health, it is important that you listen and treat them gently- although there is not as much stigma around depression as there used to be, it is still a topic of great concern for those suffering.

Be calm, respectful, and try to understand that they may not want to tell you everything right away and use the following phrases to encourage a conversation:-

  • This is really hard for you
  • I’m here with you
  • Tell me about it
  • I’ll stay close so you can find me when you’re ready
  • I’m listening

Exercise:

Those suffering from depression may feel as though they lack energy, and as a result they just want to sleep. Oversleeping is equally as dangerous as not getting enough sleep, and exercising will help to get the balance right.

Exercise is also proven to help improve our moods, so find an activity you enjoy and try to make it part of your routine. Start small, and don’t expect too much in the beginning.

Treat yourself like your own best friend:

If your friend were upset, what would you do to make them better? Make them a cup of tea? Take them for a nice walk? Run them a bath? Well, self-care is equally important.

When working in an intense environment, finding the time (or even thinking you have done enough to take the time) to care for yourself can prove challenging. Many of my clients express feelings of guilt when we move onto the topic of self-care, but looking after you is not selfish. It is vital.

Talk:

The first, and often the hardest stage, of dealing with depression is to admit that there is a problem and to begin to be open about it with others. So, whether it is you suffering or a friend remember my first tip- respect the courage this takes.

You don’t need to shout it from the rooftops (don’t worry!) but I can assure you that you will feel a lot lighter once you have shared the load of what you’ve been carrying. Finding the right person for you to talk to, or for your friend, can sometimes prove challenging. Try not to give up if you don’t get the right sort of help immediately, be assured it is out there and it is worth finding.

Spotting the symptoms of Workplace Depression can be challenging: some are extremely accustomed to hiding it, and the symptoms people show vary person to person. If you notice anyone that just doesn’t quite seem him or her self, be attentive and be ready to listen.

For more advice on this topic, please do get in contact with any health care provider or myself today. Depression doesn’t discriminate- the reality is that suffers can be any age, with any amount of income, living in all sorts of environments.