Causes and Effects of Depression

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Depression is a major issue in current world, affecting more than three hundred million people worldwide (World Health Organization, 2018). This and other negative mental conditions are directly related to overwork and challenges faced during the work period. Furthermore, these mental disorders in workplace are significantly increasing due to many reasons, such as work relationship issues, poor support from companies, high demands and lack of emotional control, which affect the life of all individuals, especially employees. According to Joyce et al. (2016), “depression and anxiety disorders are the leading cause of sickness absence and long-term work incapacity in most developed countries” (p. 683). In addition, The Canadian Mental Health Association (2017) argues that “mental illnesses cost canadian employers billions of dollars in absenteeism or sick days, disability and other benefits, and lost productivity”. This essay will focus on some causes and effects of this particular phenomenon and will continue to elaborate on the effectiveness of some possible solutions in order to successfully confront this situation at a local level, focusing in developing countries.

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Mental disorders caused by work can be a crucial problem, influencing many areas in an individual's life. One of the most common negative mental conditions that has been growing significantly in companies is stress. Employees have to deal daily with several work related issues, such as excessive pressure, poor support from companies, high demands and lack of emotional control, which lead to higher level of stress. The reactions of stressed people can have detrimental effect on the health and well-being of employees. Folkman (1984) claims that a stressed individual can decrease their potential to think and creativity, creating problems with other colleagues. Additionally, stress can damage an employee’s health and the business’ performance (World Health Organization, 2007). Therefore, it seems clear that stress can be very dangerous for the workplace and all people related to it. In the same vein, Lebowitz (2015) argues that “…scientists found that stress hormones inhibit activity in the areas of the brain involving goal-directed behavior.” (p. 9). Employees who considered most of their days to be a stressful to an extent were over three times more likely to suffer a major depressive episode, compared with those who report low levels of stress (Canadian Mental Health Association, 2017). However, awareness of the damage caused by stress is currently being disseminated through companies. Modern organizations consider employees’ stress level a crucial issue to be solved in order to decrease workplace problems.

Another mental disorder that is also considered harmful for the workplace is depression, which causes physical and emotional damage on individuals. Kessler et al. (1999) claim that people's negative perception of their self-esteem may be related to depression. Self-esteem can be defined as the value or appreciation that a person has for himself. According to Du Toit (2012) poor support profoundly affects people’s self-esteem. When workers believe that they are not able to handle the tasks, this situation leads to frustration and decreasing of results. The lack of confidence can negatively influence the achievement of professional goals, friendly relations and affection. Because of this reason, companies should help their employees promoting actions that develop the self-esteem of individuals, making them feel valued in the context of working. Thus, unmotivated workers who do not recognize their own values have an enormous influence on their performance. Du Toit (2012) focuses on constructive feedback and how it could encourage motivational beliefs and develop self-esteem.

Through all of the information described above, it is possible to identify mental disorders as a significant problem that reduce productivity in the business context, once affects the employee' performance. As a solution to solve this phenomenon there are some current suggestions. First of all, doctors and psychologists are developing a range of treatments for every level of stress or depression. According to Canadian Mental Health Association (2017), “early recognition of mental health problems and adequate treatment can help people get on the path to recovery and go back to their usual work quickly”. Also, some mental health problems can be prevented when organizations invest some resources in order to create mentally healthy workplaces for all employees. On the other hand, the majority of workers believe that is a considerable challenge to find a professional to help. Although psychologists are able to help in this situation, many individuals believe that can be a waste of money, being an unnecessary investment of monetary resources and time. For this reason, the topic about mental disorders is still widely discussed among business professionals. Secondly, companies should invest in leaders who motivate their employees, reducing pressure and high demands due to minimize the causes of issues. Leaders should help their employees promoting actions that develop the self-esteem of individuals, making them feel valued in the context of business because the lack of self-esteem directly affects the employee’s routine. Baldoni (2005) shows the importance about leadership and how motivation is based on leadership behaviour. “Motivation starts with a good example. Leaders who hope to motivate must reflect the vision, mission, and culture of organization they lead” (Baldoni, 2005, p.6). However, investing only in leaders may have an adverse outcome. Unfortunately, some leaders may feel empowered and bring more problems to the company. They should to understand the real power of teamwork, which means to focus on people, mainly in their interests, motivations, and dynamics. Instead of that, many leaders abuse the authority and demand more from their team, causing a lot of stress. Until a practical solution for this problem can be found, companies may lose millions due to simple misunderstanding between leaders and employers.

Although the above solutions do not seem to solve the problem definitively, there is an effective suggestion to reduce mental illnesses caused by work. Since investing only in leaders will not be enough and seeking a psychologist requires an employee effort, Google’s Company has invested in improving the entire culture of your work environment. According to Forbes Technology Council (2018), “Google has been one of the first companies to really understand the need for employees to have a flexible schedule and work on their terms to unleash their creativity and a greater level of productivity”. The way that Google does this is very efficient and impressive. Google invest in individuals whose one and only purpose is to keep employees more than happy and sustain productivity. “They offer a plethora of employee perks, including free, organic, chef-prepared meals, free health and dental, hybrid car subsidies, nap pods, video games, ping pong, on-site physicians and more” (Forbes Technology Council, 2018).

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