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Depression At Workplace - How To Handle It?

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, DPM (Psychiatry)
Psychiatrist, Mumbai  •  12years experience
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I am Dr. Chinmay Kulkarni, Psychiatrist. Today I will talk about depression at the workplace. Some of the known symptoms of depression like sadness, crying, helplessness, worthlessness or suicidal ideas and most of the people think that this is the depression. But it is not depression as it has some other factors which we called as cognitive symptoms of depression. That affects the performance of the person directly to the work. WHO has mentioned that the financial impact of depression is 1 trillion dollars per year. This comes with the loss of productivity at the workplace due to depression. In clinical practice, we find out that many people come to us and say we have trouble concentrating on memory issue, we are not able to make good decisions, loss of creativity. Sometimes, a person is not able to focus at work. All these things are very important for one to excel in his work. Depression can affect many of these factors. One thing is called as absenteeism, because of illness the person doesn't go to work. This is called presenteeism.

The person is not able to function according to his capability. Earlier the patient was able to finish his job in 2 days and now he is taking 5 days to finish. And it is found that 70% of lost productivity is because of presenteeism. So, a person has to understand that if he is having a problem in memorizing if he/she is not able to take the decision like earlier, having a problem in trouble solving and finding that a person has lost his/her creative ability then a person should seek a mental health profession and rule out any possible depression. It has been found out that depression treatment can improve the work activity by 90%. So, we have very good ways of treating the patients as far as medicines and behavior therapies are concerned. And also, it has been found out in multiple types of research that after treatment people start functioning much better. So, it is always better to have a workplace which is open about these problems.

Usually, there are a lot of stigmas attached to depression and any other mental disorder in the workplace. And that is why people will not come out and speak about this at the workplace. The workplace should always be open about such a thing so that people can easily discuss and get help from these things. ANd if one person is functioning better then it is always good for everyone else. So, if you are finding that you have some cognitive symptoms along with other symptoms like sadness, lack of motivation, feeling of regret, guilt, hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, sleep disturbances or suicidal thoughts, so you should seek help and get better after taking treatment of depression. Sometimes, people know that they are suffering from depression but they hesitate in seeking help because of stigmas attached to it. So, keeping the problem similar will not solve anyone's problem ever rather not addressing the problem will result in increasing the problem. So, it is always better to seek help like the way you are seeking for any physical problem.


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