In the business world today, 1 in every 6 employees is suffering from a variety of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and/or stress – depression is actually first on the list.
What’s more alarming is that the statistics are highly believed to continuously increase if not given enough attention and legal actions.
If early signs or symptoms of depression are observed in the company, don’t hesitate to extend your helping hand, whether you’re the company owner, one who belongs to the management, or a co-worker.
Might as well call on the attention of the HR department since legally, they’re the ones responsible for handling employees and their behaviours.
Take note that if depression continues to swallow the inner peace of the workforce, the level of work performance and productivity will definitely and be badly affected.
Thus, here are the different ways how the management, particularly the HR, can handle employee/s dealing with depression.
1. Encourage the employee to open up
One of the potential first steps to do is to encourage the target employee to open up. This will be possible if you’ll invite him for a one-on-one meeting.
Once the one-on-one meeting is accepted, exert your very effort for the employee to be comfortable enough to speak up.
If you’ll be able to provide a comfortable ambience and connection during the meeting, he’ll definitely be able to address his problem/s properly.
2. Listen carefully
Even if you’re one with a higher authority, never disregard to let him speak.
As he speaks and opens up about personal matters, express your willingness to know what’s bothering him.
This will make him feel that you’re really trying to help and that he can trust you.
Moreover, as you listen, set your focus on the employee and not the issue so you’ll be comfortable enough to ask what’s stressing him out and what support he needs.
If you’ll be able to do this, the one-on-one meeting will surely be effective, helpful, and successful in the end.
3. Respond wisely
You might be aware that depression is a serious and sensitive case.
Therefore, you must study and watch your words first before you start responding to the depressed employee’s statements.
Moreover, depression has no specific or particular causes, thus, do the best you can to understand what’s the source of his mental health issues – whether it’s big deal or not, minor or not, personal or not, and so on and so forth. In that way, you’ll definitely be able to work on a wiser advises and/or responses.
4. Figure out the issues/problems
Like what’s been said in the previous point, depression has no definite causes or sources. As an HR staff, you must be able to convince him to at least tell you his issues and/or problems.
With that, you’ll more likely formulate a better solution that you’ll soon discuss with the employee.
Also, if he’s not that comfortable enough to elaborate on his problems, tell him that possible counselling sessions or one-on-one meeting will follow as soon as his behaviours and concerns are resolved.
5. Identify the possible causes
After figuring out the issues/problems of the employee, you can now think of the possible causes.
Thinking and giving attention to the root of depression is necessary because sometimes the workload, the workplace, toxic co-workers, hidden harassments happening in the workplace can either be the cause.
However, if it happens that the employee is dealing with personal problems, you still have to do your part as an HR staff.
Sustain him with good and positive words that may uplift his soul, as well as, provide a probable solution that you see is best for him and his situation.
6. Respect privacy
After the one-on-one meeting with the employee, understand that what’s been discussed must remain between the two of you.
You must know that he addressed his personal matters because he trusted you and you showed a willingness to help.
Thus, don’t pass on the personal issues discussed even with the higher management without the employee’s consent.
If you fail to keep everything confidential, that will probably worsen the case of the employees’ depression as well as the situation.
7. Provide legal assistance and support
Whether the employee’s depression is caused by personal matters or work-related issues, the company is still accountable and responsible to provide legal assistance and support.
In this matter, it’s better if the company will be able to offer compelling HR support.
Under HR support is the EAP or Employee Assistance Programme. If your company’s HR support has this type of programme, there’s a big tendency that you’ll successfully help the employee overcome his depression.
Employee Assistance Programme is a type of programme offered by HR support that assists or aids a worker who might be dealing with personal problems and/or work-related problems that may badly affect his work performance, health, and general well-being.
3 General Tips for Preventing/Fighting Depression in the Workplace the Right Way
Compelling communication and transparency
Whether you own a small or big company, compelling communication and transparency between you and your workforces should be practised consistently. It’s because those two may lead to a peaceful workplace.
Also, if that’s the kind of practice in the office, your employees will be comfortable enough to state their concerns or problems whether personal or work-related.
Set aside assumptions or expectations
In the long run, it’s better to set aside assumptions or expectations on your workforces.
It’s because the employees may feel pressured and worried that they might not reach your expectations.
Moreover, these are often considered as the major sources of why employees tend to lose productivity and willingness to work.
Call for HR support/HR services
It’s always necessary that you call on the attention of your company’s HR department.
They’re the ones responsible for analysing and handling the behaviours of the workforces.
Moreover, they know the most appropriate solutions to offer once an employee suffers from an undesired case of depression.
The workplace, definitely, is one of the primary sources of mental health issues which your employee might be experiencing right now.
That’s why it’s always advisable to know how you can accommodate them whatever position you’re holding in the company.
And if you’re the employee suffering from depression, don’t hesitate to know your rights and seek help from the management.
You don’t have to let yourself be eaten up with this unpleasant mental health issue – fight and overcome it with the people who care for you.