Mental health challenges are affecting more and more people at one level or another. One of the most common is depression, and this can make leading a normal life very difficult. Depression can affect someone’s personal, family, and work-life and take away much of their motivation. There are different levels of depression, requiring various kinds of treatment and intervention. Depression in the workplace is a growing challenge that impacts the work environment and overall productivity. Counseling for depression is a successful way to reduce it and help someone cope.
Symptoms of Depression
Whether someone has mild depression or more serious clinical depression, the symptoms, impact, and duration can vary. Most people who have gone through it have experienced changes in their body, mood, thoughts, and behavior. There can be a range of emotions and experiences, including low mood, irritability, anger, feeling tearful, disinterest, as well as lethargy. Some people experience trouble focusing and concentrating, and this can affect their work performance. Depression is often coupled with a loss of appetite, motivation, and self-confidence.
When people go through a period of depression, it is common for them to keep to themselves and isolate from their community, be it, family or friends. Hopelessness, anxiety, and feeling distant and unloved are also common emotions depressed people experience. In certain instances, the symptoms can include aches and pains. A medical professional is the best person to consult if any of the symptoms explained here are experienced over a prolonged period.
Common Causes of Depression
Depression does not have a single cause, and many times it is difficult to trace the exact roots. That being said, many factors do contribute to the likelihood of depression. The most common one is a major life change. This could be losing a loved one, having a baby, being let go from work, go through a breakup or divorce, to name a few. Many cases of depression are associated with relational issues. When relationships break down, and there is unresolved conflict, this can lead one or both parties to depression.
Depression can also be caused by taking too much on your plate. This is common with people who give too much of themselves at the expense of their own needs. During the winter, when sunlight is scarce, this lack can contribute to low mood and depression.
Depression in the Workplace
We have seen how intense the symptoms and experience of depression can be. As much as a person can try to get themselves out of bed or smile again, this can seem like a tall order. Various researchers and organizations have investigated the impact of depression in the workplace. Employee wellness is now a common program in most companies because the team’s mental and not just physical health is vital. Employees have real-life problems that can start to affect their work and other spheres of life. Many of these wellness programs include some form of depression counseling.
Depression in the workplace is a leading cause of productivity loss. According to the Tufts Medical Center Program on Health, Work and Productivity director, Debra Lerner, the companies she looks at always have depression in the top five reasons for productivity loss.
Mental health challenges are also the highest cause of work incapacity and absenteeism due to sickness at work. There is a need for more companies to cater to their employees’ overall health, and thankfully, the number of initiatives has grown exponentially over the last 20 years or so. This is particularly true in most developed countries. Still, mental health has to be recognized for what it is and not given a backseat to programs focusing primarily on physical health.
Many researchers are looking into the other side of dealing with mental health problems—the prevention side. For too long, people have focused on treatment. The workplace has been identified as a very appropriate place for programs focused more on preventative treatment. While this is so, there is still little that has been done to develop and roll-out such programs in the workplace. There are many reasons for this, and cost and the lack of backing research are definitely among these.
The work environment can be a very stressful place. Many workplaces work on tight deadlines, long hours, and impersonal bosses. Factors such as competition, gossip, backbiting, and cut-throat coworkers can also make the workplace a trying place. On the other hand, the demands of the employee’s personal life also need to be met. Marriage, parenting, and additional responsibility require that a person shows up consistently and ready to give off themselves.
Many people are struggling to juggle the demands of their jobs and their personal lives. They can be silently facing mental health challenges without anyone realizing it. Counseling for depression can offer them the help and support they need to navigate through the turmoil.
The Role of Work Counseling in Reducing Depression
Counseling is a safe space for someone to speak their heart without fear of judgment. Many people long to have someone who is prepared to listen to them, but they don’t always find such a person. Depression counseling is a safe and confidential place for someone to offload their troubles at work and in their home life.
A counselor can help you investigate and process your feelings. They offer support and coping techniques for anything you are facing internally. People often beat themselves up about their lack of progress and their failures, but a counselor can shed a new perspective. They can teach you how to forgive yourself and show kindness to yourself.
Part of the counseling can be acknowledging thought patterns and behaviors that do not help. After that, there can be unlearning bad habits and relearning new and better ways of thinking and behaving. Self-care tips can also be taught as they are challenged to view the world differently.
Therapy can take various forms, including interpersonal therapy, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), and person-centered or psychodynamic therapies. These can make a tremendous difference in how one approaches life, emotions, and relationship.