Let's talk about depression
Per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, a major depressive episode can:
- cause you to feel persistently sad, anxious, hopeless, guilty, or worthless
- make it harder to concentrate, remember, or make decisions
- lead to overeating and weight gain, or low appetite and weight loss
- cause insomnia or oversleeping
- lead to thoughts of death or suicide
Symptoms of depression and mental health illness affect all aspects of your business and life.
If you're self-employed, you are in charge of your employee health and human resources. Depression is one of the 18 topics in the CDC Worksite Health ScoreCard, highlighting it as a crucial element of employee health. Using resources like Fit for Freelance is valuable; Productivity losses linked to missing work cost employers $1,685 per employee each year (CDC Workplace Health Promotion).
Mental health problems are common. According to mentalhealth.gov:
- 1 in 5 American adults experience a mental health issue in a year
- 1 in 25 lived with a serious mental illness
So what can you do about depression?
Depression can have major impact on your quality of life and business
Health screenings are a quick and easy way to spot early signs of a serious illness. You wouldn't hesitate to take one for prediabetes, so here's a free, confidential depression screening test from Mental Health America. It's important to note character flaws don't cause mental health problems, and you can't "snap out of it" by trying harder.
Working with a qualified counselor or therapist is likely to help you work better, even if you don't have symptoms of depression. Regardless of whether you're ready to talk to a professional, you should do what you can to minimize your effects.
Studies show exercise is similar to antidepressant medication in patients with major depressive disorder. (Psychosomatic Medicine). Exercise/physical activity is one of the best things you can do to protect your productivity and health.
Many people need help to get better; it starts with awareness.
If you go through bouts of intense sadness, get into slumps, or think you may have early signs of depression, my post on managing seasonal affective disorder is available year round.
Here's what to do if someone you know may have a mental health illness:
- Show them you're available to support- friends and loved ones make a huge difference!
- Help them access screening tools and mental health services
- Learn and share facts about mental health
- Treat them with respect and dignity- don't make it weird or call them crazy
This post, and Mental health: A quick intro for entrepreneurs, are glances into mental health. They're important to Fit for Freelance's mission to help entrepreneurs stress less, feel great, and work better. However, I encourage you to work with a mental health expert to explore this in depth! Check out my long-time colleague and friend Jess Wellness, a licensed mental health counselor and wellness coach on a mission to help others live healthy, fulfilling and authentic lives.