e-days blog

3 ways to help employees battle depression

Authorby 09 May, 2014

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Depression is one of the biggest threats to the health of employees across the country, and it is vital for managers to address the issue with due care.

In previous generations, the attitude to mental health and depression was categorically wrong. The general consensus was that staff should just "get on with it" or "get a grip". These messages were counterproductive and often worsened the crippling symptoms of the condition.

Currently, almost one-fifth of adults in the UK experience anxiety or depression, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. Evidence of the two conditions was also found in 19 per cent of people aged 16 or over.

Even now, in a society where depression is raised as a debilitating and harmful medical issue, managers struggle to help those suffering from bouts of hopelessness. With this in mind, we’ve offered three top tips to help employees control or even overcome their struggles.

By using an absence management system, organisations can identify the damage of depression. The software can track the number of absences caused by the illness. With this data, managers can then open up dialogue with staff to get to the root of the issue.

1. Offer a pair of ears

Sometimes, employees going through depression simply need someone to talk to. They may not want to divulge their personal lives or discuss what is bringing them down, but they will certainly appreciate an offer of support. Just knowing there is someone there who understands their situation can help to make symptoms manageable.

2. Keep information confidential

Depression leaves individuals with overwhelming feelings of isolation and hopelessness. It is often the case that people suffering from the condition will not want anyone else to know about their problems, meaning confidentiality is essential.

Therefore, if an employee confides in you, the information they pass on must be kept private. Even if it appears like a minor issue to a manager, it won't be to the person in question. During depression, confidence drops dramatically and a betrayal of trust could worsen their already bleak outlook.

3. Be flexible

No matter how hard someone tries, depression is an immense challenge and there is no harm in allowing staff to have time off to recharge their batteries.

It may be the case that staff need to work part-time for a few weeks, or they simply need time away from the office completely. e-days can track different shift patterns and easily accommodate this type of situation through its real-time staff sickness reports.

It is key to be sensitive and show confidence in a member of staff. Rather than giving them time off and wishing them better health, why not remind them of why they are such a benefit to your company? Wish them well and send them a card, saying how you are looking forward to seeing them make a successful recovery and re-join the company as a top asset.


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