6 Ways to Help Employees Struggling With Depression

supporting employees with depression

“The predominant cause of work-related stress, depression or anxiety from the Labour Force Survey (2009/10-2011/12) was workload, in particular tight deadlines, too much work or too much pressure or responsibility. Other factors identified included a lack of managerial support, organisational changes at work, violence and role uncertainty (lack of clarity about job/uncertain what meant to do).” Work-related stress, anxiety or depression statistics in Great Britain, 2019

Depression is hard to live with, hard to explain and hard to understand if you have never suffered it before. These are the things you can say to employees that can help:

1. You deserve help!

Depression is a problem in that when you have it, you often think you deserve it. It’s hard to imagine a time when life isn’t going to be this dark, particularly when you don’t think you deserve the help to make it better.

This can mean some people stop taking their medication or seeing a therapist. Reminding employees that they deserve help can help them to take the steps to get better.

2. Would you like us to find a Doctor for you?

In the same vein as the previous point, this question reminds staff that they have as much right to see a doctor as someone with a broken arm.

This is important because it can be easy for employees to feel guilty about going to the GP, believing that if they’re taking time off work, it is for a ‘lesser’ issue than a physical illness.

The National Institute of Mental Health reckons it takes over ten years for most people with mental illnesses to get medical help.

3. I’m here if you want to talk, cry or just be

Sometimes people with depression don’t want to talk, and it’s easier to shut everyone out than try to explain feelings we can’t even understand ourselves.

But just because someone can become withdrawn and isolate themselves doesn’t mean they want to deal with everything alone. Yes, this can make it difficult to know when to offer them a shoulder to cry on, but just saying ‘I’m here if you need me’ can make a huge difference.

Often people with depression withdraw because they believe that they don’t deserve companionship. Knowing that people are willing to listen to us can help normalise an illness that’s often not talked about, and help make our feelings valid.

4. Remind your employees how amazing they are!

Depression can make sufferers feel a sense of worthlessness.

It’s easy for someone with depression to get wrapped up in low self-esteem and believe that everyone views them as the worst possible version of themselves. Remind them that they’re doing great even when they don’t see it in themselves. Offer help in areas they seem to be struggling in and show that you and the company care.

5. Reminder of practices that can help, such as exercise.

First thing, do NOT tell someone with depression that they should just get out of the house more. When each step feels like a gargantuan task of Herculaneum proportions, it’s not just anything. It’s hard.

However, exercise can help alleviate symptoms and going out with a supportive colleague can make leaving the house seem easier. Seeing nature and feeling the fresh air with someone can be incredibly revitalising. Employers can implement schemes to incentivise employees to look after their mental health with small reminders of self-care such as riding your bike to work.

6. Can Onebright help you with anything?

Some days, simply leaving the house is just not as easy as it sounds. On days when a person with depression can barely lift their head off the pillow, getting dressed and walking outside feels like running a marathon without any training.

Things like simply offering to help with a task that they’re struggling with make it easier to get up and into their work schedule. It sounds so simple, but offering a small hand will show that your company cares and that colleagues are supportive.

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