Depression does not discriminate. It can impact anyone, even the superstar employee. As an employer, you may notice that a reliable employee has been arriving late to work or to meetings, or that your top producer seems distracted and unfocused. Excessive absenteeism, loss of interest in the job,unable to function at work, moodiness and irritability, and apparent fatigue are signs that these employees may be suffering from depression.

So what should an employer do for their depressed employees? It is a precarious tightrope for employers to navigate, as privacy concerns, potential stigma, and legal issues can often restrain the desire of an employer to offer help.

Here are 4 ways employers can help the depressed employee:

1. Request a private meeting. Address your observations, such as the decline in productivity, absenteeism, low mood, and ask them how they are doing. Make the meeting a positive one by allowing them to open up, while respecting confidentiality.

2. Provide a referral. Most H.R. departments are equipped with a protocol for assisting employees in need of mental health services. They will have the resources at hand to help guide the employee while exercising absolute discretion.

3. Offer flexibility. While the individual is experiencing depression it can be helpful to provide a short-term leave, or an option to work from home at least half the time. They may benefit from reducing their work hours temporarily.

4. Check in. Once the employee has confided in the employer about the depression, every so often it is nice to check in with them. Just a short email or private conversation to let them know you care about their wellness can be very uplifting to the employee.

By Dr. Priya Chaudhri, CEO and co-owner of
Elevation Behavioral Health

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Priya Chaudhri is the CEO and co-woner of Elevation Behavioral Health. Elevation Behavioral Health is a Private Inpatient Mental Health Facility in Agoura Hills, CA. We are the Premier in mental health and addiction treatment!