If you’re a financial planner, nurse or salesperson, you have a higher chance of being depressed than in any other career according to this article which lists the top 10 fields in which full-time workers are most likely to report a major depression in a given year. Other careers that make the cut are administrative assistants, writers, entertainers, artists, teachers and social workers.
We’re not talking a case of the Mondays here – we’re talking clinical depression, a disease the World Health Organization says affects about 121 million people worldwide. Here in Canada, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CAMH) says one in 20 employees can experience depression at any time – undetected, this can lead to decreased productivity and increased sick days (35 million a year according to yet another survey).
Depression in the workplace is a huge problem – and it puts me in mind of this recent blog post I did on how Dutch women, the majority of whom work part-time by choice, are the happiest in the world. If these statistics don’t make you want to pack up and move to the Netherlands right now I don’t know what will.
Workplace depression is an issue that employers need to take seriously – not only does it take its toll on the bottom line, the human cost can be devastating. Organizations can do a better job of reaching out to employees who might be suffering from depression by encouraging them to take advantage of Employee Assistance Programs and making them aware of the resources that are available to them. There’s still a huge stigma around mental illness in the workplace – and that could hold back people from seeking help.
CAMH also encourages employees to reach out to one another – so if you see a colleague suffering, you can try and help. It’s not easy to do, but CAHM offers a few tips here.