By Clare Price, Head of Psychological Services at Onebright
The COVID pandemic has only laid bare the impact that loneliness, self-isolation, and a change in circumstance can have on our mood. It is likely that many more people have suffered from depression over the past 18 months, and people with pre-existing mood disorders have found it challenging to cope with the changes that have been thrust upon us and have seen their symptoms worsen.
Depression can manifest itself in many ways and can present itself in many places – the home, the workplace, at family gatherings, for example.
Work depression can be caused by many things, and whilst not an exhaustive list, the following situations may contribute to the condition:
You or a colleague may have depression if you/ they have feelings of being persistently unhappy, hopeless or have lost interest in things you/they used to enjoy. Depression impacts how we feel, think and act. It affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms. However low you or a team member are feeling now, remember that depression is treatable.
If left untreated, Depression may have a significant impact on work performance, and it contributes to presenteeism and absenteeism. It may also adversely impact multiple areas of employee performance, including focus and decision making, time management, completing physical tasks, social interactions, and communication. Like most other health conditions, early detection and effective treatment lessen the severity and impact of the condition.
Employers can play a key role in supporting the early identification of depression and other mental health conditions and improving access to care. It’s an investment well worth making.
Educate employees and managers about depression in the workplace and its effects on productivity, and encourage employees to seek help when needed. Reduce stigma surrounding mental health conditions and train managers and the workforce on how to start a conversation if they are concerned about an employee. Include content about depression in company newsletters, on the intranet and in other employee communications.
Self-care is important to improving mood. Help employees and the workforce to understand how they can improve their own self-care and develop a balanced routine:
Paying more attention to your own thoughts and feelings and to the world around you can improve your mental wellbeing. Engaging in mindfulness exercise’s not just when you are feeling low in mood but on a daily practice can help prevent depression symptoms from getting worse.
Onebright offers mindfulness training for workplaces and encourages people to use a range of free online mindfulness resources.
As the Head of Onebright’s Psychological Services, Clare is an accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and former lecturer on the Post Graduate Cognitive Behavioural Therapy course at the University of Hull.
With twenty years of experience as a mental health nurse as well as clinical, operational and strategic roles, Clare is responsible for Onebright’s internal clinical team and the delivery of excellence in clinical services and outcomes.
Within the corporate sector, she has designed, developed and implemented clinical services within the wellbeing sector, receiving accolades in innovation and training provision.