National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Working Through It: How to cope when you’re on the job
by Stephanie Stephens
If only you could, as rock legend Neil Young suggests, "leave your troubles at the door," then depression would be neatly deposited on the office doormat. The reality is that people who are depressed at home most likely will be depressed at work.
If that's you, you’re not alone.
The World Health Organization reports that depression affects some 121 million of us worldwide and is the leading cause of years lost to disability. In America, The National Institutes of Mental Health classifies major depression as a serious medical illness affecting 15 million American adults or approximately 5 to 8 percent of the adult population in a given year. The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine reports that depression affects more than 6 percent of the U.S. working population. Approximately half a million Canadian workers experience depression, and most say the symptoms interfere with their ability to work.
Look around your office and you may formulate your own statistic. You'll find depression at the water cooler, in the adjacent employee cubicle, and in the penthouse suite. Depression strikes the mailroom attendant or the top executive—like Tom Johnson, the former chairman and CEO of CNN Newsgroup. Johnson was diagnosed in 1988 while working as publisher and chief executive of the Los Angeles Times and simultaneously overseeing The Denver Post and The Dallas Times Herald.
Now retired, Johnson remembers that at the time of his diagnosis, no programs existed at his workplace to help. Rather, it was left to him—an employee of one in charge of some 12,000 others....
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