How to help a depressed employee

The presence of employees with mild depressive disorders in the workplace is a situation that needs to be handled with sensitivity and care. As an employer, you can do something to support such employees. Following are some tips to help you handle a depressed employee:

  • Work with the employee to set reasonable workplace goals. An employee with a depressive disorder may have an unrealistic view of what needs to be accomplished.

  • Help the employee break large tasks into smaller tasks and prioritize to accomplish what he can. This can take some of the pressure off the employee.

  • If your company has an employee assistance program, be sure to provide the employee with information about it.

  • Encourage the employee to get involved in workplace activities; this could provide enjoyment, as well as build the employee's self-esteem.

  • Be patient with the employee.

Source: Adapted from the National Institute of Mental Health Web site as cited in First Draft, May issue.

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