Depression is a common but serious mood disorder that affects millions of Americans in their finance jobs and daily lives. Those who experience it (and the people who interact with them) see symptoms of prolonged sadness, anxiety, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and unusual appetite changes. These symptoms affect how a person thinks, feels, and handles daily activities, which naturally means it impacts how a person functions in the workplace too. The symptoms vary depending on the type of depression a person is diagnosed with, such as dysthymia, postpartum depression, psychotic depression, seasonal affective disorder, or bipolar disorder. Depression can happen at any age, but often begins in adulthood. Risk factors include family history of depression, major trauma, and certain medications. In this article we will look in more detail at the defect of depression on the American workforce.
To start off with, employees must decide whether or not to disclose to their employers that they’re suffer from depression. Because there is a choice available, obviously that means employees are not required to tell their employer if they do not wish, in most situations. Some people choose not to disclose their depression because of a real or perceived stigma related to the disorder. Most medical doctors and psychologists agree that the stigma related to depression is far less than what it used to be decades ago. Some people may still not want to disclose their depression because they are afraid their colleagues will view them differently in a negative sense; that they will be seen as weak or incompetent. Most doctors and psychologists recommend that people make their decision on whether or not to disclose based on their specific situation. Advantages of disclosing include legal protections against discrimination and legal requirements to accommodate. Disadvantages include real or perceived stigma and adverse reactions from an employer disguised as something else, such as performance.
Assuming an employee discloses to their employer that they suffer from depression, what does that mean for the working relationship from that point forward? One thing is that some employers are often more than willing to help! Some employers include with their benefits package free counseling sessions or discounts for health disorders such as depression. Some employers also add a layer of support on top of that by negotiating for a prescription plan that covers most common depression medication. Employers, in addition to employees, have an interest in combating depression because the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 200 million workdays are lost annually due to depression. For those working in finance jobs in such a competitive environment with the current economic situation, lost workdays obviously translate into lost productivity and lost revenue. An employer can also make sure that the employee has an adequate amount of leave/sick days to accommodate their situation. Lastly, it is incumbent on employees to be honest and forthright with their employer at all times to avoid a situation where an employer perceives that its accommodations are being taken advantage of.