Depression in the workplace:

Depression in the workplace:

By Employer Disability Information
Wednesday, 27th June 2018

Depression is a very common condition which affects more than 450,000 people in Ireland (one in ten) at any one time. Any of us, irrespective of age, gender or background, can be affected at some point in our life. Depression is an invisible/hidden disability and therefore can be difficult for employers to identify and assist.

What is a Hidden Disability?

Hidden Disabilities refer to disabilities which may not be visible at a glance, but can have a major impact on people’s lives, for more information on hidden disabilities click here

How to Recognise Depression in the Workplace:

  • Absenteeism
  • Reduced productivity
  • Uncharacteristic behaviour e.g. accidents
  • Impaired judgement, resulting in bad decisions or indecision
  • Low morale
  • Lack of co-operation
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Complaints of physical aches or pains
  • In situations where a person is elated or manic as a result of bipolar disorder, they may be disruptive, interfering or domineering

How can you help someone in the workplace with depression?

  1. Listen to them in a non-judgemental way – if a colleague confides in you, respect their privacy
  2. Support and reassure the person unconditionally
  3. Take references to suicide seriously
  4. If the person is behaving differently remember this is a result of the illness. It is not their ‘fault’, so do not apportion blame
  5. Offer practical help where possible, for example encourage the person to eat well and suggest they go for a walk at lunchtime
  6. Depression can be isolating, so be sure to involve the person in workplace chat and invite them to social occasions.
  7. Check in with them regularly and remain positive and optimistic.

It is important that as employers, you create an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable to disclose if they are experiencing depression without feeling that they will be judged or discriminated against.

For advice about depression and your workplace you can contact See Change.

Information on workplace stress:

Relevant course for employers:

IBEC guide to mental health and wellbeing for line managers: 

If you would like to know more about hidden disabilities and employer obligations you can visit, call Seonaid

on 01- 6762014 or email her: