Let's talk about depression and anxiety
We all feel sad, moody or low from time to time. From a rough day at work to relationship issues to juggling a young family, it’s completely normal to feel like sometimes the world is against you and it’s all too hard.
However, when those sad feelings tend to last for a long period of time, it could be a sign of something more than just a bad day. According to Beyond Blue, around one in seven women (15.7%) reported having an anxiety-related condition* in 2017-18 and on average, one in six females will experience depression in their lifetime**.
Putting it into perspective, one of your colleagues could be struggling with hard times at the moment, or one of your closest friends could be dealing with anxiety that’s beyond their control. But due to our own busy lifestyles and our own personal issues, it's easy not to pick up on the signs that someone you know is suffering. We think these are issues that need to be spoken about.
“Depression is more than just a low mood. Someone suffering from depression experiences low feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason,” says a spokesperson from Beyond Blue. “It’s a serious illness that has an impact on both physical and mental health.”
So what is anxiety? “Anxiety is when anxious feelings are ongoing and exist without any particular reason or cause. We all feel anxious from time to time, but for a person experiencing anxiety, these feelings cannot be easily controlled,” says the spokesperson.
When it comes to depression and anxiety in the workplace, studies from Beyond Blue have shown that five out of 10 Australian employees believe their place of work is not mentally healthy, with these workers three times more likely to take sick days due to mental health issues than other workers.
With this in mind, the Australian Government Department of Health funded an interactive guide for businesses to create a free, tailor-made mental health plan through www.headsup.org.au. The website encourages workplaces to give mental health the same priority as physical health and safety by creating a positive work environment and supporting staff with mental health conditions. It's a great resource to pass on to your People & Culture department if there's not already something in place.
If you think you might know someone who’s suffering from depression or anxiety, Beyond Blue also have a free app called 'The Check-in', which helps you create a step-by-step plan to reach out to a friend that you’re worried about.
The app also lets you review how your planned conversation went, sets reminders to follow up with your friend, and gives you ideas about what to do next to help your friend through a tough time.
The Check-in app can be downloaded from App Store on iTunes or the Google Play store.
*Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). National Health Survey: First Results – Australia 2017-18. Canberra: ABS
**ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 27
Have you or any of your loved ones suffered depression or anxiety? How do you go about dealing with depression or anxiety?