yee cryingSupervisors need to remember that employees can suffer from mental illnesses just like anyone else. Sometimes depression isn’t something that will go away on its own. Letting the employee know you are there to help will make it easier for them to acknowledge their condition and seek treatment if necessary.
Depression is a serious mental illness that is not something to joke about. Although seemingly everyone gets depressed at one time or another, it can also be a lifelong battle for many people. When an employee has depression, they will need help to cope with their condition and manage the symptoms to continue working without suffering too much.
The following list represents some possible ways in which a supervisor might be able to help an employee cope with depression:
Get Educated About Depression
The first step is to learn as much about depression as possible. Most people think of it as a mental illness and don’t realize that there are many different types of depression. Chemical imbalances can cause it in the brain, environmental factors such as abuse, or simply life situations such as losing a loved one or financial problems. Knowing how someone becomes depressed is important because it will help you understand what kind of treatment they need and how best to help them get better.
Treat Them with Kindness and Compassion
Most people with depression do not see themselves as sick but may view their symptoms as something to just accept. Allowing employees to talk about how they feel can open them up to new ideas that will help them get better. There are countless self-help books available on depression, so you can become very knowledgeable to help your employees.
Consider letting employees use any library resources at work if they would like or suggest reading some of these books together or online during breaks so everyone understands what others are going through. Try not to antagonize someone who comes forward about feeling depressed because this could make things worse by making them feel more isolated from the group.
Listen with an Open Mind
People suffering from depression often feel like nobody understands, but this isn’t entirely true. Not only do their family and friends love them and care about them, but also those who work with them can be trusted to listen and offer sound advice.
They might have serious personal and legal problems. You can listen to them if they wish to confide in you about those problems. For example, a car accident is one of the causes of their depression. You can also help them by recommending a car accident attorney to help them and their family resolve the legal issue.
Include the Employee in Decisions
When you are struggling with an illness such as depression, it can be easy to feel helpless and alone, so telling your employee what they can do to help themselves is a great way to give them back some power over their life. Letting them know that not only will you support them but also want their input on how best to support them will go a long way toward improving morale and restoring optimism about the future.
Keep Workplace Accommodations Confidential
The employees’ privacy should always be respected when deciding if they would benefit from accommodations such as working from home or more time off. Keeping it confidential makes it easier for the employee to adjust and means that they don’t have to worry about how others perceive them. Besides, it’s possible that other employees also suffer from depression, so allowing an employee to work from home could benefit all the employees.
Allow Them to Take Time Off if Necessary
This one is essential. Many working people with depression find it difficult or impossible to fulfill their job duties, leading to a lack of fulfillment and a desire to give up on their careers altogether. If you care about your employees, you will ensure they get time off when they need it without fear of losing their jobs.
Taking time off does not mean that they are giving up or quitting. It just means that they need some time to focus on their emotional health before returning to work. Every employee needs to take some time off on occasion, and it is better if they can do so without worrying about how it might affect their professional lives.
Sometimes it can be hard to know how best to support your employees and help them through tough times while also holding up your end of things at work. Everyone struggles from time to time, but those suffering from depression feel like every day is an uphill battle.
When someone can do something to help themselves feel better, be it seeing a doctor or talking with family and friends, it can make all the difference. Supervisors should serve as a source of support and guidance for employees fighting depression and can even help them discover how to cope more effectively on their own.