5 Ways to Support Employees Who Suffer from Depression

August 28, 2019  |   tagGeneral

In the workplace, the well-being of your employees matters. Often, this is addressed with business goals about physical wellbeing. However, health doesn’t just extend to the physical aspect. Your company’s focus on employee well-being should also include mental health. While this can be addressed with insurance similar to physical health, you need other goals too. 

Take the example of promoting a healthy diet in the workplace, especially with snacks. In this way, you’re encouraging your employees to think healthier about their diet. With promoting mental healthiness, there are a lot of approaches to consider. Overall, with every goal you present concerning workplace health, you should be showing employees your support. Having any kind of support system be it at work or not can improve mental health. 

When looking at mental health specifically, depression is one of the top problems in the workplace. In fact, according to Mental Health America, it is the third most common problem for employee assistance professionals. However, with a support system, you can help your employees improve mental health and thus, improve the workplace. 

Supporting Mental Wellness in Your Employees

1. Marketplace Chaplains

You may have the intention to help your employees with their struggles, but that isn’t always easy to do. No matter the size of a company, time will often be a limited resource. 

So, how can you show your employees their health matters? 

One method is by building out a role within a company that specializes in this type of care. Here at Marketplace Chaplains we can provide such a service to you and your employees. 

In working with us, you can be assured that there is a team of people dedicated to helping your employees. Not to mention, we have actual workplace experience along with years of professional care experience. From worksite, to offsite, to virtual care, we provide a variety of methods to help a struggling employee when they need it. 

2. Be Proactive With Communication 

Educate yourself and others in your company about depression. Understanding what it can look like is one of the first steps in supporting your employees. It’s also important to remember that depression is unique for each person. The same symptoms may not be present in two people who both have depression. 

How can you provide the proactive support your employees need, then? 

Firstly, if you’ve noticed a change in how an employee is acting, or with work performance, speak to them. Your first inclination shouldn’t be to diagnose them since you aren’t their physician. However, you can simply bring up your concerns without explicitly telling them you think they have depression. 

Your goal should be to make it clear to them that by communicating, they are comfortable. This is why being proactive by starting the conversation is extremely helpful. If your employee is still uncomfortable sharing with you, you can always have an HR staff member step in. Regardless, maintaining confidentiality with your employees is imperative. Otherwise, they won’t feel safe sharing with your, much less the liability that would be present. 

3. Invest in a Brighter Workspace

Some ways you can make the workplace healthy is with food, as we discussed earlier. There are other ways in which improving the physical work environment can better one’s health. 

What ways can you improve office space to improve mental health? 

One answer is one that may seem quite simple: adding more sunlight. 

One form of depression presents itself in seasonal affective disorder. This is a type of depression that typically occurs every fall and winter when the days are shorter. This is why improving lighting can make all the difference for those with depression. 

Often, when using light as a way to cope with seasonal depression, specific bulbs can be used that simulate sunlight. To apply this method in the workplace, consider allowing more sun into the office. You can also encourage your employees to take breaks by walking outside. That way, they can get the Vitamin D their body craves as well as exercise, which also improves mood. 

4. Company Events Outside of the Office

Getting out of the office can really help improve the overall wellbeing of your employees. You can achieve this in a number of ways. Some can be company outings, such as participating in charity work as a team. Not only does this get your employees away from their desks, but it also helps them bond as a team. That bond is part of any good support system and helps with depression, which is isolating. 

Another example of working outside of the office can be hosting a business meeting at a specific venue. As we’ve discussed, being in nature is a big benefit to those with depression. 

So, how can you bring your office to a more natural setting? 

One way is to host your event at a location such as natural spa. A natural healing atmosphere can help your employees unwind and relax, shedding the stress of the daily grind. If your employees aren’t interested in a spa day, try a sunrise hike or an afternoon bike ride. There are plenty of outdoor activities to try as a company. Team building and sunshine–sign us up!

5. Bring Nature to the Office

While the previous suggestion is an extremely helpful way in which you can help your employees, it is more likely to be spread out timewise. An occasional outing is but one way you can use natural healing properties to support employees with depression. 

How else can you use the influence of nature in the office? 

Much like the suggestion of more sunlight, you can add other natural elements. Examples of this include adding more plant life to the office. One low maintenance option for office plantlife is succulents. 

Since they require watering less often than other plants, they can simply co-exist with your employees. Not to mention, along with making the office look more natural, the act of caring for these plants gives your employees a soothing way to take breaks. 

Have a Support System in Your Workplace

Regardless of how you do it, you should have a support system in place at work. Just as any workplace is unique, so are the workers. This extends to how they may experience their struggles. All of this is in order to help your employees flourish, not to mention your business. 

It’s always the right time to invest in your employee’s mental health. Their success is your success.