Everyone has those moments when they feel blue or out-of-sorts. Most of the time these feelings come and go. But when sadness persists for more than two weeks it could be a signal of something bigger: depression that may affect a person’s ability to function at work, at home, or in other aspects of their life. As an employer, you may notice a reduction in an employee’s productivity, an increase in absences or a shift in their overall disposition.
Depression is a common illness that affects more than 19 million Americans each year. But its symptoms often creep up, leading some to assume that their depression is just a normal part of life. So, unlike symptoms that point toward physical illnesses like heart disease or diabetes, the symptoms of mental illness are all too often ignored. In fact two out of every three people suffering from depression never seek the necessary treatment; but, like physical ailments, when mental illnesses are left untreated the outcome can be severe. We do not wait until heart disease reaches “stage 4” to get treatment and we shouldn’t for depression.
Mental Health America’s free and confidential online health screenings provide a quick and easy way to spot the first signs of illness. We provide five different screenings: Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder PTSD and Substance Use. Although no two people experience clinical depression, or any mental illness, in exactly the same way these tests provide a better understanding of what people are experiencing and help determine if they need help as well as where they can get it.
As part of Mental Health Month, we encourage you to begin having an open conversation about mental health in your organization and creating a culture where employees feel as comfortable talking about their mental wellbeing as much as their physical wellbeing. It’s the right thing to do and your organization only stands to benefit by ensuring the total wellness of all its employees.