Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Leadership Coaching: How To Manage Worker Depression

What Employers Pay For Depressed Workers

There are times when people have blue moments which is a normal response to difficult or disheartening situations. But when feelings of sadness become overwhelming and out of control, it can turn into an illness, known as clinical depression. Depression affects many people, including those in the workforce. According to statistics, 10% to 20% of people in the workforce suffer from clinical depression every year. What is the cost of clinical depression to employers? Think about company losses from absenteeism, poor quality of work, lost productivity, on the job accidents and employee turnover because of clinical depression. In 2003, the estimated annual cost of worker depression in the US was $44 billion.

Proper Management Of Worker Depression

Companies have to take time and invest on proper management of worker depression. Here are some steps:

  • Management training. Managers should be trained to recognize symptoms of depression in their employees. People in management should be able to deal with depressed employees in a direct and compassionate manner. What are some symptoms of depression?

    • Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety or emptiness

    • Loss of pleasure or interest in daily or common activities

    • Loss of energy, always feeling tired and slowing down when doing activities

    • Eating disturbances or irregularities

    • Sleeping problems and disturbances

    • Memory problems, difficulty in remembering and recalling and concentration

    • Difficulty in making decisions

    • Feelings of guilt, hopelessness and helplessness

    • Persistent pessimism

    • Persistent thoughts about death and suicidal thoughts and attempt

    • Feeling moody and irritable

    • Excessive crying

    • Chronic and unexplainable aches and pains

  • Education and awareness. Employees should be educated and informed that depression is an illness and can be treated. Employee benefits should include a program wherein they can access confidential diagnosis and treatment of depression.

  • Employee assistance. Help for employees with depression can be facilitated through an in- house company doctor or the Employee Assistance Plan.

  • Management health. Managers and supervisors themselves should be educated and assisted to take care of their own mental and physical health. They are to set a good example to their employees.

  • Wellness programs. Prevention and intervention programs should be promoted in the workplace.

  • Compassion and consideration. Employees should not be compelled to go to work if they are not feeling well.

  • Health and benefits programs. Employees should be aware of the health benefits and programs they can avail of and how to access them.

The work environment should nurture the health and well being of employees. Healthier employees are more productive employees and this is a crucial resource employers should deem worth investing on.

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