Depression affects one third of workers

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A published survey has confirmed that at least one third of people find it difficult to cope at work because of stress, burn out or depression.

The survey indicates that 83% of those affected by this phenomenon feel isolated and lonely as a result.

Only about 50% of those suffering loneliness or isolation took the time to confide in a colleague. About 71% found that once they had discussed their situation with a colleague, their spirits were lifted.

The online study involved 1200 people and has been published by Depression Alliance to form part of the Depression Awareness Week.

It places focus on the need for employers to recognise this condition and to offer support to their staff.

Another report has been published by business which shows how companies, such as Barclays, Unilever and Royal Mail, have implemented new policies offering structured support for depressed workers.

Unilever UK’s Vice President HR, Tim Munden, has stated that the company firmly believes in addressing depression and both the employees and the business have benefited from it. He stated that the company is targeting a 10% decline in mental ill-health related to work, by 2015.

The Chief Executive of Depression Alliance, Emer O’Neill, said that depression is the biggest challenge faced by working-age people and that it often results in isolation and considerable loneliness at work. He further stated that many companies are unable to manage these employees, and to overcome this problem, it is essential to implement support structures in the workplace.

He said that the group have just launched Friends in Need which offers support for those suffering from depression. It is a free and easy method for people to connect online at www.friendsinneed.co.uk, or by group meetings. People can take part in local activities which may aid in the prevention of feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Norman Lamb, the Care and Support Minister, said that £400 million is due to be invested in a bid to improve access to treatment plans for people with mental health issues, such as depression. He said that they are searching for methods which will allow mental health and employment services to work in unison to support people to build emotional resilience.

He said that this is an important subject and some employers, such as BT, are already in the forefront of confronting it.

He stated that an amount of £16 million has already been invested in the Time to Change programme which aids in the reduction of the stigma attached to mental health. A guide was published indicating how managers can offer support to employees suffering mental health illnesses.

Image Credit: Pete

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