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Help wanted - staff member with depression

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grid_lock227

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Jan 15, 2015
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I'm after some advice - I've never suffered from depression but I manage someone at work who does and I want to know how best to approach it.

The person I manage has told me he suffers from depression and anxiety (he didn't want to be more specific than that), and has done since teenage years. I find it's affecting his work, but he hasn't had treatment for it. He has said he has previously had treatment when living in Germany, but he hasn't had it diagnosed here (the U.K.). I feel I would be much more able to make allowances and be supportive if it was recognised and diagnosed, but he has said he feels people would take him more seriously if he had a physical disability and that this isn't fair.

I want to take his condition seriously but at the same time I am accountable for making sure he does his job. Should I push him to have medical treatment? Or could this make things worse if he doesn't feel able to? Or does anyone have any other tips about how to be sensitive towards someone who experiences these issues?

Thanks
 

MarlieeB

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Hi and :welcome: to the forum.

The first thing I want to say is thank you and I say that because it's so good to see an employer who cares as much and wants to help as much as you.

These things are hard. Sometimes it takes a long time for someone to actually accept they are feeling so, so bad, even if ,deep down they know.

It's hard. Pushing him might make him feel worse or might spur him on, it's a 50/50 situation I would say.

Sometimes it is better to push them gently and over time. Make it clear to him that you are there for him anytime he wants to talk and keep on saying it but without pressure. It might take a while though.

Have you got a HR department you could talk to, to get advise without mentioning him by name if possible. Just so you are aware of things and the company might be able to offer something you and him don't know to try and help him.

Keep on being the boss you are, the world needs more bosses like you.

Marliee x
 
pepecat

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Hi....

I don't think he has to be any more specific than 'depression and anxiety' really - that is pretty specific really. It's like someone saying 'Asthma and eczema' - how much more specific do you need them to be?! :D

Is he aware that it's affecting his work? It might be a way forward to say that you're aware that he's having some issues, and you want to support him with it, but that things are affecting his work, and see if HE comes up with anything that will help. It might be he'd like to be put on a slightly easier task for a while, or not talk to the public, or whatever (I don't know what job it is, obviously).

He might say though, that the best thing is to carry on with what he's doing, because being taken off one task and being put on another might make him feel like a failure in some way, and he might well be feeling that way anyway, due to the depression.

I don't quite get what he means about someone having a physical illness and that not being fair..... you want to support him - and in fairness, you have a duty to, so being diagnosed can only help him, surely? Unless he's thinking that people will start the 'can't you just be happy / pull yourself together / it's not a real illness' spiel (and it does happen, trust me) and that's why he doesn't want it made 'official'.

If it's affecting his work that much, you're going to have to do something I guess...... otherwise he potentially could be disciplined / fired ultimately - for something that's perfectly sortable. What's your company policy on these things - can you make someone go and see a company gp, for instance? Or is there any workplace wellbeing support, or a phone counselling line or anything like that?
 
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grid_lock227

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Jan 15, 2015
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Hi both
Thankyou for helpful replies - I'll definitely bear these things in mind. I hadn't thought of looking into it this way, but after some investigation my company HR does actually have a dedicated service to support employees with mental health issues - so hopefully I will be able to get him to talk to them. My worry is that he feels he is able to manage his condition himself, so he won't want to get more help as that would mean admitting it was more real (if that makes sense) and having to confront the problem. But it is affecting him so hopefully I can help him see that....

I may be back for more advice!!

Big thanks
 
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