depression
(Photo: fizkes/Shutterstock.com)

How Company Leadership Can Support Diverse Employees with Depression

Depression is an invisible but common mental health problem in the U.S.  One in five Americans are affected by mental health issues, and depression tops the list as  a condition many Americans experience.

It can be debilitating and could cost businesses $44 billion a year in lost productivity in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Mental illness, and depression in particular, has hit the Black population in the U.S. hard. In 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Black men and women, ages 15–24, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.

Black girls, grades 9–12, were 70% more likely to attempt suicide in 2017, as compared to white females of the same age. To make matters worse, Black Americans also report the lowest levels of mental health treatment and access.

Related Article: AT&T Celebrates Black History Month

Generational poverty, income inequality and racism also take their tolls. Research has found that experiencing racist macro and microaggressions can result in anxiety and worry, hyper-vigilance, headaches, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and other physical and psychological symptoms, including depression.

Leaders of companies that valued both diversity and mental health have a chance to have a positive impact on those working around them.

“Black women deal with many unique societal factors that could affect mental health. As a Black woman who deals with anxiety and depression, I often feel “weak” due to my emotional fragility, Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez said in a healthline piece she authored. “But as I grow more in my understanding of mental health, I’ve realized my struggle doesn’t negate my strength. And, more importantly, that I don’t always have to be strong. Expressing vulnerability takes strength. I accept this today, but it’s been a long journey to get here.”

There are companies that are stepping up in order to improve how mental illness is addressed in the workplace.

Johnson & Johnson (DI Hall of Fame) is one of those. Johnson & Johnson collaborated with both the American Heart Association and dozens of CEOs across the U.S. to create the “Mental Health: A Workforce Crisis” report. The report has seven strategies created by experts to both foster a healthy work environment and support employees who may be struggling with a mental illness, such as depression.

Kaiser Permanente’s (DI Hall of Fame) chairman and CEO, Bernard J. Tyson made ending the stigma around mental illness an active part of his position before his death. Tyson passed away in November 2019.

He wrote an article,  “Redefining Mental Health for a 21st Century World,” which explained the importance of speaking more openly about mental illness.

“Improving mental health care is not only an industry issue, it has become a critical societal issue,” he said. “Our nation’s ability to address mental health in a holistic, comprehensive way may just determine how successful we ultimately are in our quest to improve the health of America and the world … We must tackle and remove the stigma associated with seeking mental health care.”

Luckily, there are ways companies can support their employees who are struggling with depression. Here are a few to consider.

  1. Understand and be able to spot the signs of depression.
  2. Speak with the employee honestly but privately about what they’re experiencing.
  3. Encourage a flexible schedule and work with them to create a workday routine that supports their productivity.
  4. Break up the employees’ large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks.
  5. Offer resources at the company such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).
  6. Help remove the stigma around mental illness by encouraging employees and leaders to talk more openly about their struggles.

Latest News

Cox Business and Henderson, Nevada Launch Energy Efficient Smart Lighting Project

Originally published on Cox.com Cox2M IoT Business Line of Cox Communications will Pilot New Lighting Controls The City of Henderson and Cox Communications have successfully deployed the first stage of their smart community collaboration, starting with energy efficient lighting management and controls. Cox2M, the IoT business line of Cox Communications, and the…

Diverse hads unite

More Work Needed For Corporate Diversity Programs; Fourteen Disability Groups Unite to Promote Voting; and More

Corporate diversity efforts still have a long way to go, new report finds. In a report conducted by the research firm Clutch, nearly half of employees surveyed said their company isn’t committed to creating a more diverse workplace and hasn’t successfully improved diversity within the last year. Researchers with Clutch…

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco Declares War on Racism; People 55 and Older Face Historic Levels of Unemployment; and More.

San Francisco begins a citywide war on racism and discrimination. Known as the birthplace of the “Summer of Love” and the counterculture movement of the 1960s, San Francisco has long stood as a bastion of individuality and inclusion. And now the city is continuing that fight with the launch of…

portrait of Abraham Lincoln

Was Abraham Lincoln a Racist?

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s mention of Abraham Lincoln’s name during the third presidential debate on Thursday, Oct. 22, was one of the most memorable exchanges in the final presidential debate of 2020. It also caused Lincoln to become a trending topic over much of social media in the hours…

BASF receives “CIIF New Materials Award”

Originally published on BASF.com Novel modification of BASF’s PolyTHF for various applications First successful application for soft spandex fibers with Banglian BASF has received the 2020 “CIIF New Materials Award” focusing on innovation and granted by the China International Industry Fair (CIIF) in September, 2020 at the National Exhibition and…