Working on depression: A practical guide to the management of depression in the workplace

Do you know all the facts about handling depression in the workplace?

  • How common is depression? Should I expect it in my workplace?
  • How can I tell if an employee is suffering depression?
  • What are the first steps I should take after discovering an employee is suffering depression?
  • What's the hardest thing about returning to work after depression?
  • How can the workplace help?

Depression affects one in ten Australians in the workplace. An effective return to work program that manages depression in the workplace needs to be based on a good understanding of its causes, manifestations and effects. This guide will provide that understanding, as well as the right help and clear support to manage employees with depression and assist in their successful return to work.

The Guide provides step-by-step instructions for employers, co-workers, unions, supervisors, physicians and return to work coordinators play in facilitating smooth return to work for the a worker with depression.

Ten common concerns about depression that we hear from employers, co-workers, unions, supervisors, physicians and return to work coordinators:

  1. I’m not sure what the signs of depression are to look out for.
  2. I think my employee is suffering depression and I’d like to discuss it with them, but I don’t want to breach their privacy.
  3. I’m not a doctor – I’m not sure what advice to give. Where can I refer employees to get more information?
  4. What can I do for my employee to help them get back to work?
  5. How can I prepare other employees to accommodate the return to work?
  6. Is there anything about my workplace that can cause depression?
  7. I’ve heard anti-depression medication will have certain effects on my employee – what should I be prepared for?
  8. Will my employee have depression for life?
  9. How can I stay in touch with an employee while they’re absent without seeming like I’m meddling or being pushy?
  10. What can the workplace do to promote a productive return to work for an employee with depression?


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Chapters in Guide:

I. Introduction - Why is depression relevant to my work place? Is it common?

What causes depression?
Can I do anything about it?

II. Recognising depression

What are the symptoms of depression?
What are some clues that suggest someone in the workplace may be suffering from depression?
Why would someone who is depressed still come to work?
What to do if you suspect that someone in the workplace may be depressed
What are the consequences of depression in the workplace for employers?
What are some common barriers to the effective management of depression in the workplace?
Reducing barriers to overcoming depression - recommendations for employers and managers

III. What are some of the challenges for employees returning to work after depression?

What can be done to help?
Return to work programs and short term disability management

IV. Mental Health Promotion

What are some steps I can take to prevent depression in the workplace?

V. Treatment

What is the difference between counselling and medication therapy?
How long will someone require treatment?
What do I need to know about antidepressant medications?
What do I need to know about Psychotherapy and counselling?

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