The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 17.3 million American adults age 18 and older deal with depression. With MDD (major depressive disorder) being such a prevalent issue, it is no wonder that depressive symptoms are a common source of workplace frustration and lost productivity. It is essential that America’s managers and employees alike become more comfortable communicating about depression and the toll it can take on individuals and their work.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that while most U.S. employees deal with moderate depression symptoms at some point in their careers, most depression sufferers do not explore treatment options. Major depressive disorder (MDD) in the workplace is obviously a common problem that is going undiagnosed and untreated.
Work can be stressful, and as an employee’s stress levels rise, depression may develop, or existing depression symptoms can worsen. People dealing with MDD in the workplace may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Feelings of sadness, guilt, and hopelessness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of interest in activities that an individual once enjoyed
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Hand-wringing, pacing, and/or other restless activity
- Suicidal thoughts
Let’s not forget about lost productivity associated with depression in the workplace. A Gallup poll indicated that U.S. employees diagnosed with depression miss an additional 68 days of work annually in comparison to their counterparts, resulting in more than $23 billion in lost productivity for U.S. employers.
How to Improve Mental Health in the Workplace
Employers and employees must work together to foster healthy work environments. In doing so, both parties can achieve the best workplace results without putting employees’ health and safety in danger.
Many employers are taking steps to improve mental health in the workplace, and some companies have even implemented workplace health programs designed to encourage balance and self-care. Workplace health programs include a variety of components and strategies, including:
- Health education classes
- Insurance coverage that allows workers to undergo free or subsidized preventative health screenings, including mental healthcare services
- Providing healthy foods and beverages in workplace break rooms and cafeterias
- Offering free or discounted access to gyms and fitness programs
- Encouraging work-life balance
The benefits of workplace health programs are twofold. For employees, workplace health programs can be used to get in shape, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and identify and treat potential health risks. Meanwhile, employers can use workplace health programs to reduce employee absenteeism, increase employee productivity and retention, and lower healthcare costs in the long term.
How to Promote Mental Health and Stress Management in the Workplace
Mental health and stress management in the workplace are essential. Employers can implement several measures to help employees manage mental health and stress, including:
- Offer Mental Health Self-Assessment Tools. Depression is sometimes difficult to identify, but self-assessment tools can help employees identify depression warning signs and symptoms before they become severe.
- Provide Free or Subsidized Clinical Screenings. With free or subsidized clinical screenings, employees can undergo evaluations to understand their risk of depression and other mental health conditions.
- Teach Employees About Mental Health and Stress Management. Hosting a mental health and stress management awareness workshop and providing educational materials like brochures and videos can help employees find ways to improve their mental health.
- Cultivate a Healthy Work Culture. The most important way to encourage mental health in the workplace is by fostering an environment that allows employees to have work-life balance and to speak openly to their supervisors when they are experiencing depression.
Additionally, there are lots of things that employees can do to promote mental health and stress management in the workplace, such as:
- Offer Feedback. Employees can provide feedback to help an employer improve mental health and stress management programs.
- Participate in Employer-Sponsored Programs. By engaging in employer-sponsored mental health and stress management programs, employees can learn the skills that they need to manage depression and other mental health conditions.
- Share Personal Experiences. Employees who feel comfortable sharing their personal experiences related to mental health and stress can help reduce the stigma surrounding MDD in the workplace.
A healthy work environment delivers long-lasting benefits for employers and employees. Together, both parties can create work environments where employees can properly diagnose and manage MDD and employers can maximize their day-to-day results.
How to Treat Depression in the Workplace
For people dealing with MDD in the workplace and in their personal lives, many treatment options are available, including psychotherapy and antidepressant medications.
Psychotherapy involves meeting with a mental health professional to discuss depression symptoms and identify the root cause of these symptoms. It often requires one-on-one meetings with a mental health professional. Group and family therapy sessions may also be used to help people find ways to manage their depression symptoms.
Antidepressants are another treatment option used to help reduce or control depression symptoms. A doctor typically performs an evaluation to understand a patient’s depression symptoms. Then, if they determine antidepressants may help alleviate these symptoms, they provide a personalized antidepressant recommendation.
Although psychotherapy and antidepressants are commonly used to treat depression, these treatments are not always effective on their own and can deliver more impact when used in conjunction with other treatment modalities. In recent years, a revolutionary treatment called TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, has become an increasingly popular method to help people dealing with severe depression.
Specifically, deepTMS (dTMS) therapy involves the use of magnetic pulses to stimulate regions of the brain that are responsible for mood. The therapy helps treat depression symptoms, and it offers several advantages over traditional depression therapy options, including:
- More Effective Outcomes: TMS has a higher patient success rate than antidepressants — 70% of TMS patients report a significant reduction in their symptoms, with 49% of patients achieving complete remission.
- Short Treatment Sessions: During a dTMS therapy program, patients undergo five treatment sessions per week over the course of six weeks, with each session lasting 20 minutes.
- Minimal Discomfort: dTMS therapy does not require anesthesia or electrical shocks, and most patients report minimal or no discomfort after a treatment session.
- No Downtime: A dTMS therapy patient can return to his or her everyday activities immediately following a treatment session.
Achieve TMS is the leading provider of dTMS therapy in the United States, and we are happy to help you treat your depression symptoms. To learn more about dTMS therapy or schedule a treatment consultation with Achieve TMS, please contact us online you can call or text us today at 877-285-0822.