As a manager, you are the key player between your employees and your organization, leaving you with a large responsibility when it comes to employee well-being.

A recent study by Qualtics and Mental Health America found that manager interactions play a crucial role in the wellbeing of employees, as “positive supervisor relationships were correlated with the greatest number of positive outcomes” around workplace well-being.

This managerial influence surely plays a significant role in addressing depression in the workplace, which means you have the ability to impact the following unfortunate statistics (provided by The Center for Workplace Mental Health):

  • Over 16 million Americans are affected by depression every year
  • More than 50% of people with depression are left untreated
  • Workplace depression costs employers $44 billion each year

So, how can you help?

The first step is recognizing the signs of depression in your team.

Signs of workplace depression

According to The Center for Workplace Mental Health, some common signs to look for in individuals who may be experiencing depression are as follows:

  • Withdrawal from team, isolating oneself
  • Indifference
  • Putting things off, missed deadlines, accidents
  • Seeming “scattered” or absentminded
  • Procrastination, indecisiveness, slowed productivity
  • Late to work, afternoon fatigue
  • Unsure of abilities, lack of confidence
  • Low motivation, detached
  • Inappropriate reactions, strained relationships
  • Change in appearance
  • Increased absenteeism

Gaining the ability to notice the symptoms listed above will allow you to proactively address cases of depression in the workplace as they arise, rather than being reactive or silent, which can cause more emotional harm to employees.

Remember, knowing these symptoms doesn’t put you in a position to diagnose anyone-only a trained professional should do that-but having this tool in your utility belt will provide you with the awareness necessary to empathetically reach out to those who need it.

And that’s the next step-reach out.

If you think someone is struggling, be bold and connect with them as an individual-not just as an employee-and make the conversation about their well-being instead of their work responsibilities. Just the act of reaching out will be helpful and will show the individual that you care about their well-being. Plus, it will give you an opportunity to provide the individual with any emotional support resources your organization may have available to help.

If your company lacks resources, you may want to look into obtaining a Proactive-EAP (Employee Assistance Program). In addition to offering leadership training on how to approach workplace well-being issues, a robust Proactive-EAP will provide your organization with on-demand support and resources that employees and their loved ones can utilize when they are struggling.

What else can you do?

To make a serious impact in the way your organization prioritizes workplace well-being and addresses issues like depression, you’ll want to look at improving the culture across your entire organization. Accomplishing this will require you to empower all your managers with better training that helps them:

  • Establish open communication. Normalize the conversation around mental health in the workplace.
  • Be vulnerable. Share and be real with your people about personal struggles and worries.
  • Demonstrate genuine concern. Let individuals know that they matter as people just as much as they do as employees.
  • Create psychological safety. Create a safe environment through listening and authenticity.

Having managers that embody these principles will help your organization build a solid foundation of trust. And when you have trust, the majority of your employees will be open when they’re struggling and will be willing to reach out to others as well. This increased organizational trust ultimately results in people getting the help they need-when they need it.

Plus, proactively prioritizing employee well-being through culture is good for more than just the employees. A Deloitte study revealed that every $1 spent on proactive mental health support by an organization provided an ROI of $5. In other words, when you invest more into the well-being of your employees, your entire organization benefits immensely.

The bottom line here is that employees want and need more mental health support from their organizations. So, next time you recognize someone who may be struggling with depression or any other issue, reach out with empathy. And moving forward, don’t shy away from being proactive and doing the right thing for your employees; it will be the right thing for your organization as well.


If you have any questions about how Blunovus can help you improve your culture and provide your employees with the emotional resources they need through our Proactive-EAP, don’t hesitate to contact us at (385) 205-6789 or go@vesteap.com.

We are here to help!


Disclaimer: VEST content is not therapy and is not designed to diagnose or treat any condition you may be experiencing. Please contact a medical or mental health professional for treatment that is specific to your needs.