5 Common Myths About Depression At Work
A common mental health condition that affects millions of people is depression. Additionally, it's often stigmatized and misunderstood. Depression is a particularly common problem in the workplace, where people cannot talk about it openly.
Sadly, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding depression in the workplace that make it even more challenging for those who are struggling to get support and help.
As work comes with a lot of stress, it's common to feel down or mentally exhausted at times. But if these feelings don't go away, and you have trouble doing the things you love, you might have depression, and you shouldn't hesitate to seek help.
This article will help you explore some of the most common myths about depression at work and discuss why they are not only untrue but can also be harmful.
Workplace Depression And Its Increasing Prevalence
The relationship between work and depression can work both ways. Depression can impact your performance at work; again, workplace stress can directly factor into your depression. Overall, work is a place of heightened anxiety and stress that can negatively affect mental health.
Your job might not be the direct cause of your depression, but other factors like a negative or toxic work environment or lack of work-life balance can make your symptoms even worse. And according to The Office of National Statistics (ONS), it is shown that mental health conditions are the third most common reason for workplace absenteeism. The depression statistics also show just how many people struggle with stress, anxiety, and depression at work every day.
Again, with all the stress at work, mental health conditions like stress, anxiety, and depression are increasing rapidly, especially post-pandemic. Depression is at the top of the list; it affects almost 200 million people every year worldwide. Its prevalence is alarming and needs to be addressed on a bigger scale.
According to the World Health Organization, work depression can lead to a loss of $1 billion in the economy per year in loss of productivity.
The Importance Of Debunking Myths About Depression At Work
Despite being one of the most common mental disorders and problems at work, depression is often misunderstood. The myths and misconceptions about depression are key factors contributing to the stigma attached to it and discouraging employees from talking about it or even getting the help they need to overcome depression.
It is important to debunk the various myths about depression at work, as it can have significant consequences at work. Here are a few reasons why it is important to talk more about depression and uncover the myths lying around it -
It can lead to discrimination at work as people often perceive those with depression as lazy and less productive.
It limits their opportunities at work and even causes the risk of losing their jobs.
It can significantly reduce their productivity as the common misconception of not being productive often leads to the organization not providing them with proper help and support. It further leads to a lack of morale and motivation to perform.
It might restrict people from getting the help they require because of its stigma. It will further worsen their symptoms if not addressed properly.
Debunking myths about depression will help to create more awareness and a supportive workplace environment.
According to the data from the State of Mental Health in America 2021 survey shows that the number of people seeking help for depression increased significantly from 2019 to 2020.
5 Common Myths And Facts About Depression
Here are five of the most common myths and facts about depression that are prevalent in the workplace. Awareness of the myths can help you debunk them and get the help and shoutout, people need.
1. Depression Is Not A Real Illness.
The most common myth about depression is that it doesn't exist. You have likely encountered people dismissing depression as merely a phase of sadness, or perhaps you are dramatic about getting upset. As a result, people often hesitate to discuss their feelings for fear of being judged.
But the fact is that depression is real, like any other illness, and far more serious if not addressed. It affects almost a million people worldwide, and workplace depression is one of the major ones. It can be caused due to a variety of factors, including genetics, environmental factors, and life factors.
People with depression often experience a range of symptoms like extreme sadness, hopelessness, fatigue, or even physical symptoms like falling sick or lacking sleep. It can be challenging for them to deal with work, and they can find it challenging to carry on with the tasks.
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2. People With Depression Are Just Lazy And Unmotivated.
Often people judge or make comments on depression as an excuse for being lazy or not productive. Because of the lack of awareness around how depression affects you, people misunderstand the signs of depression and feel that they don't need to seek a mental health professional as they can just get back on track and choose not to be lazy.
However, this is not the truth. Depression is real, and one of the major symptoms of depression is that it takes away a lot of your energy, making it even more difficult for you to perform your daily activities; even the smallest one might be challenging for someone experiencing depression.
The symptoms of depression, like fatigue or lack of motivation, can make it challenging for people to maintain their usual productivity at work and might cause frequent burnout. However, it is not something you cannot avoid; it might get tricky; with proper treatment and support, you can recover and return to your usual level of productivity and feel more energized.
Employee assistance professionals rank depression among the top three workplace problems according to Mental Health America.
3. Depression Is A Sign Of Weakness.
One of the most pervasive myths about depression is that it is a sign of weakness. Often, people are ignorant about how serious depression is and the gravity of it. You must have come across people telling you that depression is a sign of weakness and that if you are strong enough, you won't let it stop you from getting things done.
However, it is simply not true; depression is not a sign of weakness, nor does it defines your character's strength. It is a serious medical health condition, just like asthma or diabetes. An imbalance in the brain chemistry causes that.
It is a serious mental health condition that affects people of all ages and gender; it is not a character flaw or a sign of weakness. In fact, people who struggle with depression often have to work harder than the rest to overcome their symptoms and manage their conditions.
Suggested Read: How Can Managers Support Mental Health in the Workplace
4. People With Depression Should Just Snap Out Of It.
A common misconception about depression is that it's not a serious mental health condition but a temporary phase. When asked about depression or confronted by someone, many people will advise or reply that you should snap out of it. The general public is unaware of how complex the condition is and does not know how to respond.
In reality, depression is a much more complex issue, and you cannot just snap out of it. The situation is not a choice; getting out of it requires strength and support. Depression is a complex mental health condition that requires proper treatment and encouragement.
It is, therefore, harmful to encourage or ask someone with depression to snap out of it or for them to feel guilty for something that is beyond their control.
5. People With Depression Are A Liability At Work.
The stigma attached to mental health is still very strong, and many people at work are reluctant to talk about their struggles. People with depression or any mental health issues are often misjudged or treated differently because of the myth that they are not assets but liabilities.
However, it is not true; people struggling with depression are not liable at work and shouldn't be treated otherwise. In fact, it is found that most people going through depressive episodes are highly productive at work, as they often try to distract themselves from work.
With the right support and encouragement, employees with depression can continue to work and contribute to their workplace. Employers or organizations can support this by providing flexible working arrangements, employee assistance programs, and mental health resources at work.
Suggested Read: 5 Ways To Encourage Your Employees To Take A Mental Health Day Off
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why Are Myths About Depression So Harmful?
The myths about depression are harmful because-
They can prevent people from seeking the help they need.
Believing that only women get depressed can prevent men from seeking help.
Myths like medication are not necessary and can prevent people from getting the treatment they need to feel better.
2. How Can You Combat Myths About Depression?
You can combat these myths about depression by talking about the realities of depression and encouraging others to do the same. You can also support policies and programs that increase access to mental health care and reduce the stigma surrounding depression and other mental health conditions.
3. How Can Someone With Depression Seek Help?
If you are struggling with depression, you can seek help by talking to a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor. You can also talk to their primary care doctor, or a psychiatrist, or even reach to online support groups.
Summing It Up
Thus, depression is a common and treatable mental health condition that affects many people at work. By understanding and debunking the myths about depression at work, you can help to work together to create a more supportive and inclusive work environment.
Since many people do not seek help as they hold to certain myths about depression, but if you create a more open environment, it might help those struggling to seek proper help from mental health professionals. Don't buy into the stigma surrounding depression that wayward myths create.
I hope this article helped you better understand what depression is and how to debunk the myths sticking to it.
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