has been named as one of the top three barriers to success in the workplace
according to a recent survey among 2800 working women across South Africa.
survey, which was conducted by one of SA’s leading providers of central nervous
system (CNS) pharmaceuticals, Pharma Dynamics, found that depression may be the
culprit behind absenteeism and workplace blunders among women who have
experienced its symptoms.
rated depression, alongside child-care responsibilities and bureaucratic
structures, as a primary barrier to career success, and 66% of women said it
hampered their overall job performance.
interfered with work in various ways. Almost 65% of women reported that
depression caused them to be quiet and reserved, and 41% said they were more
prone to making job-related mistakes due to lack of concentration and sleep.
Fouche, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics says it’s not just perfectionists and
workaholics who tip over the edge.
is an issue that is becoming more evident in SA following widespread
retrenchments that have left the remaining staff to cope with impossible
workloads, too afraid to object for fear they’ll be next in the firing line.
women working overtime and on top of that still having to deal with child-care
responsibilities at home, it is no surprise that many are bordering on the
brink when it comes to their physical and mental health. Putting in more than
an eight-hour day, five days a week, makes you twice as likely to suffer from
depression and anxiety."
also more prone to burn-out and depression because they are more likely than
men to be people-pleasers who often ignore their own needs," says Fouche.
of women surveyed admitted to suffering from depression – 33% felt unable to
face work, 29% generally avoided contact with other colleagues and almost a
quarter of the sample (22%) said they took more sick leave as a result of
symptoms related to depression.
One in ten
women reported having resigned or lost a job mainly due to symptoms of
important,” says Fouche, “to note depression is not merely feeling sad because
you’ve had a bad day at work.”
is prolonged and severe despondency and dejection, usually accompanied by
feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. It is a mental condition that
manifests itself typically in a lack of energy and difficulty in maintaining
concentration and an interest in life.”
Of the 1057
women diagnosed with depression, only 464 are currently being treated, of which
65% are on medication and 35% are undergoing psychotherapy.
Not seeking treatment
given for not seeking treatment included work-related time constraints (31%),
medical aid not covering treatment costs (24%), fear of what people might think
due to the stigma associated with depression because it is often seen as a sign
of weakness (23%), not knowing where to go to for help (16%) and 6% felt they
might lose their jobs as a result.
the personal struggle, women living with depression also have to deal with
other people’s perceptions of depression – many of which aren’t true. Even
though the stigma associated with the condition is decreasing, it continues to
be a major factor in preventing women from seeking help.
choose to share in a workplace setting, however, is controversial when it comes
to depression. If you tell your colleagues that you suffer from depression, you
could experience a combination of social stigma and discrimination or get
passed over for a promotion, but hiding signs of depression can be stressful
too," she warns.
Wait for an
appropriate time to share your experience of depression, such as lunchtime or
at an office social when the topic
of discussion is generally not focused on work.
yourself – this only perpetuates a negative social stigma.
friends, family and colleagues gain a greater understanding of depression.
Reinforce that it is normal behaviour and how they can help.
always exhibit control and responsibility, especially when sharing your
experience with depression with colleagues or your boss.
control by seeking the right help.
yourself with positive people who understand what you are going through and are
“One of the
best ways to manage depression is to stay positive and vigilant about your
condition. Recognise different patterns in your mood, avoid setting difficult
goals, participate in activities that make you feel better and don’t expect to
just snap out of it. It is important to connect with people who understand
depression and what the recovery process involves.”
findings were released as part of Pharma Dynamics’ ongoing public education and
advocacy efforts for mental wellness in SA.
from depression or anxiety can contact Pharma Dynamics’ toll-free helpline on
0800 205 026, which is manned by trained SADAG counsellors who are on call from
08h00 to 20h00, seven days a week.