AS@W Antidepressant Skills at Work: Dealing with Mood Problems in the Workplace
Depression in the Workplace
What is Depression?

Depression is not...

Most times when you feel down, you’re not depressed. Feeling sad or low is a big part of life and can’t be avoided. When something goes wrong in your life, whether it’s an argument with your partner, a missed deadline at work, or a physical illness, your mood might drop. If you feel especially sad or irritable because of this situation and have poor sleep, less interest in seeing friends, or frequent worry about the situation, you’re probably experiencing low mood. Low mood will typically go away in a week or two, especially if there’s an improvement in the situation that started it.

Depression is…

You might be experiencing depression if:

  • You feel very low mood or almost no interest in your life, almost every day, and this feeling goes on for weeks;


You have other problems such as:

  • big changes in weight or appetite;
  • not being able to sleep enough or sleeping too much;
  • feeling that you are always restless or slowed-down;
  • thinking that you are worthless or feeling guilty;
  • feeling really tired much of the time;
  • feeling numb or empty;
  • having a lot of trouble concentrating or making decisions;
  • thinking about death or suicide

There are two main kinds of depression: mild depression and major depression (a term
that refers to moderate or severe depression).

Each of these includes the same kinds of problems (listed above) but major depression is
more severe. Usually, when a person becomes depressed, it’s the mild kind. Your family
physician, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist can tell you whether you have depression.

Here are some observations about depression:

  • Depression is hard to diagnose on your own.
    Our moods affect our judgment of ourselves, making it hard to judge whether we are really depressed. It takes a trained professional to make the diagnosis.
  • If you have depression, you are not alone.
    Around 4% of working adults are depressed at any given time, and more than 15% of adults will be depressed at some time in their lives.
  • Depression is not a sign of weakness.
    Many capable, intelligent and accomplished people have been depressed. Being depressed does not mean that you have a weak personality or a character flaw.

If you think you have depression…

If you think that you have depression, it is important that you find help. The skills in this workbook are meant to help you with your depression, but you shouldn’t have to do it alone. Getting another opinion from someone you trust can help you understand your problems or put them in perspective. There may be relevant services available through your workplace like occupational health and safety services, an employee and family assistance program, or extended benefits coverage for mental health treatments. Check with your union or human resources representative for more information.

If you continue to feel depressed, seek the help of a healthcare professional. This might be your family physician, a psychologist, a psychiatrist or another mental health professional. They can help you with a number of different treatments for depression. A good thing about these treatments is that they work well alongside skills you learn from this workbook.

If you feel like hurting yourself…

For many people, depression makes life seem hopeless and unmanageable. Most depressed people feel this way from time to time. For a small number of individuals, this feeling of hopelessness gets so strong that they begin to think that life itself is not worth living. If this happens to you or someone you know, it’s time to get help. Find a healthcare professional to help you get past these feelings. If you can’t wait for an appointment, there are a number of crisis lines, staffed 24/7, that you should call. Go to your telephone directory and look under Crisis Centres to find the numbers in your area. You might also call 1-800-suicide (1-800-784-2433) or visit the Emergency Room at your local hospital.

Remember, things can get better.


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