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World Health Day 2017: Depression, let’s talk

Depression can be a delicate topic to approach in the workplace, but as the conversation around mental health grows, the stigma is silenced. For World Health Day: 2017 the World Health Organization is mobilizing education and support efforts around depression.

To strengthen your organization’s understanding of depression, it may be valuable to explore resources that can help to distinguish between myth and fact, and provide insight into the different ways that depression might manifest. Using educational resources such as fact sheets, posters, or handouts you can share information about the types and symptoms of depression, as well as its contributing factors and treatments. You can distribute these materials through internal communication channels or display them in common spaces such as lunch rooms or stair wells. It is also important to remind all employees of what may be available to them through your EAP (employee assistance program). By engaging in mental health education your organization empowers employees to identify and respond to signs of depression and other mental health topics.

In openly discussing depression in the workplace, employers and employees may have unique challenges and considerations to take into account. For instance, employers may not know how to accommodate mental health issues in hiring practices, and employees might wonder how to articulate mental health issues to employers. Mental Health Works offers practical strategies and solutions that employers and employees can use to address depression and mental health in the workplace.

Engaging in consistent mental health promotion supports a shift in organizational culture. It helps de-stigmatize topics like depression and encourages open discussion about mental health issues. To integrate mental health promotion into your organizational culture you can consider scheduling regular mental health hints where you share brief informational videos on the factors that affect mental health within the workplace. The videos are designed to promote discussion on factors such as workload management, psychological demands, and balance. They each have a corresponding worksheet that a facilitator, such as a wellness committee member, can use to guide conversation during team meetings, lunch ‘n’ learns, or employee orientations.

Through a combination of mental health initiatives and information your organization can confront mental health issues while creating an atmosphere of acceptance and awareness. To connect with more resources about depression and mental health in the workplace you can visit our Workplace Wellness topics page.