How to Manage Depression at Workplace

Psychology experts believe that the rising suicide trend in Nigeria can be drastically reduced by first understanding depression, and how each person slips into it.

Often times, people tend to bottle up work pressure, anxiety and stress without paying attention to the effect of accumulating these subtle triggers of depression. Depression is a common mental disorder, which is usually characterized by severe mood swings and may grow into a condition called dysthymia, if symptoms persist longer than two years.

Until recently, when a couple of Nigerians attempted/committed suicide, depression was a less talked about topic. However, a lot of Nigerians suffer from one or other forms of depression. According to the World Health Organization during its 2017 World Health Day, 7,079,815 [3.9 %] Nigerians suffer from depression, placing the nation as the most depressed country in Africa. Surprisingly, there are more depressed people in Nigeria than the most accurate statistics have recorded. This is becomes this disorder comes in different forms – from the slightest anxiety to the extreme madness seen on the streets, and only a few people are clinically diagnosed.

According to the Founder of Mental Balance Initiative, Dr. Reuben Oyaregbulem, the failure of clinicians to identify and diagnose depression in Nigeria has given the society and even healthcare providers an impression that the condition does not exist.

However, one out of every 20 staff is going through a phase of depression. Although, there are high chances that these figures would increase due to the over-stretched economic crisis in Nigeria, there is also hope for a decline if deliberate and intense awareness and management strategy is conducted. The first step is to recognize the symptoms of this emotional instability especially at workplace, in order to tackle it from the root.

Understanding Your Trigger

Psychology experts believe that the rising suicide trend in Nigeria can be drastically reduced by first understanding depression, and how each person slips into it. Factors that triggers depression ranges from the feeling of emptiness/sadness, fear of losing or actual loss of someone or something important, pressure to meet deadlines and more. However, knowing the general symptoms is a good start.

Symptoms of depression:

  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Sleeping abnormalities
  • Eating disorders
  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Persistent body pains

Effect of Depression at work:

  • Decreased productivity
  • Lack of morale and cooperation
  • Absenteeism
  • Irrelevant complaints/nagging
  • Alcohol/drug abuse
  • Loss of interest in social activities
  • Loss of creativity

Accepting the condition

Most people get more depressed at the thought of knowing they are suffering from depression. This is probably a wrong move to make when acceptance seems like a better option. Embrace your status, talk about it with close friends and family who can help fill in the void and help you rediscover your source of happiness.

Working on Your Mind and Body

Depression is a thing of the mind which directly affects the body. Therefore both body and mind needs to be worked on concurrently to achieve effective management. You can achieve this by exercising more, eating healthy, worrying less and resting more. Due to the fact that depression directly affects work productivity, employers can adopt a flexible window for staff suffering from the condition as they may require the following to recover fast.

  • Flexible working hours.
  • Change of work space.
  • Temporary change of role.
  • Changes to break times [splitting lunch hour into two.]
  • Quiet room to take some time out if needed.

In a nutshell, depression is only a phase of life and with extra attention and care from yourself and loved ones, you can go past the challenging phase.