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How To Handle Depression At Workplace

Nothing is permanent including stress, work, and deadlines. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that these things do not rule your life and that they are just temporary obstacles

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Globalization has impacted people's socio-economic status. However, it has also affected the mental well-being of individuals. Long working hours, tight deadlines, long commute from home to the office, and traffic are all factors that contribute to stress, and even mental health problems for some in the long run. Statistics indicate that one out of every two employees in corporate India shows signs of anxiety and depression.  About 42.5 per cent employees in India suffer from depression or general anxiety disorder.  Depression is one of the top three health issues at work. There is a lot of work-related stress among employees in the corporate sector. While a little bit of stress is considered healthy at work, prolonged stress can be detrimental and lead to serious mental problems.

What causes depression at workplace?

Corporate jobs are volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Such an atmosphere can result in stress, which can lead to anxiety and depression in the long run. Some factors that lead to depression at workplace include the following:

"    Unreasonable deadlines and expectations
"    Anxiety about losing the job and constant pressure to upgrade oneself
"    Fear of failure
"    Homesickness, stagnation, and frustration with the job profile
"    Harassment by peers
"    Excessive burnout, emotional exhaustion, overwork, and sleep deprivation
"    Financial issues and loan repayment

What exacerbates this situation is the fact that mental illness is often not considered a "real" illness. Those with mental health issues face stigma and are ostracized. Thus, they do not open up about what is bothering them.

Signs of depression at work

Those who suffer from depression exhibit certain symptoms. Some of them include absenteeism, sick leaves, physical ailments, poor performance at work, probability of accidents, arguments or conflicts with co-workers, substance abuse, alcoholism, and suicidal tendencies. It is important for companies to have a policy that addresses mental health issues at the workplace and helps identify those with such signs. Managers and employees alike should be coached on identifying the warning signs of depression. They should also be trained on empathy and sensitivity towards those with mental health issues.

What can be done?
It is also important for organizations to create a stress-free environment for their employees. They must ensure that those working for them are provided an outlet to voice their grievances and deal with their issues.


It is not easy to fix depression. It takes a while before a person can overcome it. If you or a co-worker exhibits symptoms of depression, it is imperative to act immediately. Understanding the signs and symptoms is the first step. The next is to follow the tips given below which can go a long way in reducing stress and anxiety and keep the mind and body calm.

# Understand that nothing is permanent 

Nothing is permanent including stress, work, and deadlines. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that these things do not rule your life and that they are just temporary obstacles.

# Do not eat a heavy meal at work

A meal rich in saturated fat can make you feel weighed down and sad. It is important to eat light to be able to think better. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and keep yourself hydrated by drinking lot of water. Limit coffee to just one cup. Green tea is known to contain antioxidants that can improve your mood.

# Take occasional breaks

If you feel that your work is bogging you down, go out and take a break. A walk in the office corridor or just a few minutes of meditation with your eyes closed can prove helpful. There are certain yoga postures and exercises that can be done at the workstation itself. Sit up straight in the chair and close your eyes. Breathe in and out and lighten the mind. You will feel much better.

# Get ample sunlight 

The body needs ample Vitamin D and a lack of it has been known to make people feel depressed and low. Get out in the sun if you have to make a call or you can even eat your lunch outside. This will make you feel a lot better.

In conclusion
Companies should put in place a proper system to ensure that they identify those who suffer from a burnout or seem depressed. Depression can be treated provided timely help and counselling is made available to those suffering from it.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
workplace opinion World Health Day 2017

Dr Vikas Jain

The author is Psychiatrist at Lybrate, the online consultation platform

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