Is Your Job The Source of Your Depression?

Understanding the displacement of African Americans in the workplace can be a serious feat. From oppression and discrimination to exclusion and solitary, finding your “place” within the general population’s social and corporate constructs as an African American may not come easily to most.

Do you follow along in banter with your white coworkers about current politics in America? Do you not point out how you’re the only black person in the entire company? These questions tend to pop into mind for almost every black person in the workplace and may even lead to a form of depression.

However, from secretaries to CEOs, workers, in general, face an epidemic of depression no matter the race. At any given time, about 9.5 percent of adults suffer from a depressive illness, a fact that explains a lot of empty desks and unpunched time cards.

Every year, depression causes 200 million lost days of work, and it is the leading cause of disability in the United States for 15 to 44-year-olds. In a way, everyone pays the bill. In fact, workplace depression drains more than $50 billion from the economy each year, mostly because of absenteeism and lower productivity, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Depression used to be a hidden disease, but more and more companies have a vested interest in bringing it out in the open. By watching for signs of depression and offering support, employers can improve morale and productivity, not to mention their bottom line. Unfortunately, mental health is still a taboo subject in many workplaces. Until more employers and employees understand the disease, too many people will continue to work under a cloud.

Working Toward The Blues
The source of depression often lies far beyond the office. Conflicts at home, the loss of a loved one, or a fight with a friend can sink the mood of the happiest employee. But for many people, emotional distress is