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5 Tips for Dealing with Depression at Work

Amanda Page Apr 3rd, 2012 (updated May 25th, 2016)
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Work is more than just income. It's a great source of self-esteem and can make you feel you're accomplishing something important--feelings that especially vital for people with depression. Here are five ways for coping with your depression at work.

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Ask for accommodations
Ask for accommodations

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does cover disability due to mental illness, including depression, but this only applies if the treatment a person is receiving is unsuccessful. The accommodations cannot cause undue hardship on an employer, nor is he or she obligated to respond to all requests. If you feel you are entitled to accommodations under the ADA, talk to your human resources representative. 

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Take your medications as prescribed
Take your medications as prescribed

Make sure you follow your healthcare provider’s treatment plan, including taking medications as prescribed. Those meds and the treatment regimen are designed to help you manage your depression as effectively as possible, so make sure you’re doing your part to help your doctor help you.

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Know when to say “When”
Know when to say “When”

Most people want very much to maintain their work responsibilities despite their depression. But if your work place performance is truly suffering, talk to your employer about taking approved time off to recharge and get needed treatment. It’s scary to think about telling your employer about your depression, but it’s often a better solution than risking being fired for poor performance.

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Use flextime, if possible
Use flextime, if possible

If your company is one that allows for varying start and end times, modify your work schedule in a way that best deals with your depression. If you tend to be more depressed in the morning, see if it’s possible for you to come in later and work later. If your depression worsens as the day progresses, perhaps an earlier start time will help you be more productive.

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Modify your work station
Modify your work station

People with depression often suffer from fatigue and poor concentration. Moving your workstation to a more secluded, quieter area can improve your work performance. Or, if your company allows it, try soft music, headphones, or lowering the volume on ringers and other electronic devices at work.