One thing to keep in mind is that there is no timetable for depression. When someone breaks a leg, you know that after six weeks in a cast and three weeks of recovery you’re good to go. Depression isn’t like that. For some, depression is a lifetime struggle. You can’t assume that because a person is seeing a doctor and is taking medication that the illness will go away. Patience and understanding is really needed.
Remember that your employee needs your support. Some people find it difficult to approach someone with such an illness. They think they might say the wrong thing or make matters worse. If your friend were just diagnosed with diabetes, you wouldn’t start avoiding them. Depression shouldn’t be any different. A person suffering needs friends more than ever.
Yes, dealing with depression in the workplace is a very challenging task. With depression on the rise, you are likely to be touched by it sooner rather than later. Educating yourself on this illness and learning how to handle it in the workplace is more important than ever.
About the author: Jon Olson is the production and operations manager for Sterling Surfaces in Sterling, Mass. He has been a solid surface fabricator since 1982 and can be reached at email@example.com.