Posted by: healingtheworkplace | May 8, 2009

Mental Health in the Workplace

Hi there, Many of you are looking for ways to create healthy workplaces, although you might not think about it that way. A lot of the topics that I’ve discussed on this blog are about the importance of creating healthy workplaces.

Did you know that depression in the workplace is on the rise? Here are some interesting facts that I find surprising:

1. Depression affects people in their working years between the ages of 24 and 44. Not to say that people of other ages don’t get depressed…but the majority are in this age range. Any idea why?

2.  1 in 20 employees can experience depression.

3.  70% of all depressed Canadians are in the workplace. WOW!

So, what does this mean and what can we do?

The good news is that once depression is recognized 4 out of 5 people can be treated successfully.

The challenge is getting people to accept that they need help or that help is available. Whether you are a manager, supervisor or employee there are things that you can do.

First of all you need to know the signs–here’s what to look for:

Personal Changes

  • irritability/hostility
  • withdrawal from, or extreme dependence on others
  • hopelessness/despair
  • slowness of speech
  • chronic fatique
  • alcohol/drug abuse

Workplace Changes:

  • difficulty making decisions
  • decreased productivity
  • inability to concentrate
  • unusual increase in errors in work
  • being prone to accidents
  • frequent tardiness, increased sick days
  • lack of enthusiasm for work (disengagement)

If you have noticed a colleague exhibiting these signs OR if you have several of these symptoms yourself seek help.

Here is a really cool website that provides information and tips on how to approach a colleague, and offer them help, in a respectful and sensitive way.  

Remember that individuals who are suffering from depression will most likely try to hide their problem for fear of losing their job. They also may fear being stigmatized and this may stop them from asking for help.

If depression is NOT treated it can least for a long time and the person who is depressed will likely become more and more isolated and unable to seek help.

15% of people with severe depression commit suicide.

Your help may be the key. 80% of people with depression can recover if they get help.

Remember…we are all in this together. Many of you want to create healthy workplace communities. Is there someone you work with who needs your help?

Peace, Lesley


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