Mental Health Matters

Approximately one in four adults experience a diagnosable mental illness in any given year.  And according to Employers Health, a national employer coalition based in Dublin, Ohio, more employees miss work because of mental illness than any physical condition such as cancer and heart disease. [2]   

One of the most common mental illnesses is depression. Depression ranks among the top three issues in which individuals seek help from employee assistance professionals followed only family crisis and stress.  Often times a depressed employee will not seek treatment because they fear the impact it will have on their job, and are concerned about confidentiality. Therefore, many employees suffer in silence.  In addition, some fail to recognize they are experiencing symptoms of a mental health issue. Instead, they may associate their symptoms with aging or assume that their problems are just a normal part of stress. [1]

Learning to recognize the symptoms of clinical depression is important in identifying if treatment is needed. No two people experience clinical depression in the same manner, and symptoms can vary in severity and duration among different people. In the workplace, symptoms of depression often may be recognized by:

  • Decreased productivity
  • Morale problems
  • Lack of cooperation
  • Safety risks, accidents
  • Absenteeism
  • Frequent statements about being tired all the time
  • Complaints of unexplained aches and pains
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse [2]

Prevention and early intervention in the workplace is the best way to make sure employees are staying mentally healthy. Having healthy relationships and getting on a path to good mental health begins with being able to talk about how one feels.  In addition, communicating with others about how life with a mental illness feels can help build support from friends, family, and co-workers, reduces stigma and discrimination, and is crucial to recovery (3).

In order to take action against depression, the first step is to start evaluating one’s mental health and recognize if there are symptoms of depression present. There are resources that can help evaluate mental health conditions, such as the mental health screening assessment provided by Mental Health America. 

Oklahoma State University is truly committed to the health of its employees as they offer several services and resources to address the mental health needs of employees. An example of such resources include ComPsych® and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) led by the program coordinator, Dr. Bill Gentry.

  1. Depression in the workplace 
  2. How Depression Affects the Workplace
  3. Learn more about Mental Health Month

Other Mental Health Resources

Life with Depression Sheet

Calendar of Tips

Thinking Ahead Tips

Mental Health Screening Tools