Hi Paul, I manage a small team and one particular employee I think must have some mental issues. She has fairly low self-esteem and seems paranoid that everyone wants to get rid of her. It's not uncommon for her to behave quite unprofessionally in meetings, either crying, shouting or walking out. I don't quite know how to handle it but feel she really needs some professional advice to deal with her problems. I am sure work is just the tip of the iceberg. I know she has no immediate family. It's difficult to raise her behaviour with her without her perceiving it as an attack or threat that she may be sacked. It is affecting the whole dynamic of the team with people tiptoeing round her or get equally frustrated with her outburst. I'd really appreciate your advice.
Most illnesses are identifiable by physical symptoms. When someone has a mental health problem, though, it is experienced as a change in how you think or feel. Someone who has depression, then, can feel persistently sad and 'down' for no real reason, and have difficulty taking any pleasure in day-to-day life. They often feel alone and cut off from other people, anxious, and may have trouble sleeping or concentrating. They may also have feelings of guilt or worthlessness without any real basis in reality. Does any of this sound familiar?
Because we understandably feel that 'this is how it is,' it can be hard to recognise that these feelings are in fact caused by a mental health problem a problem which can be treated. It is important to take on board, therefore, that how you feel may well be caused by depression, and that there is a lot that can be done to reduce and even eliminate them, just like the symptoms of other health issues.
You've made a good first step in writing to us. I strongly recommend that you now contact a GP's surgery and ask for an appointment (request a longer one, so there is time to talk). If depression is diagnosed, then treatments include psychological therapy (provided by the doctor or a qualified psychologist or other health professional) and/or antidepressant medication. You can discuss with the doctor which treatment options would be most helpful for you.
For more information about depression and treatments, contact the SANE Helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263) or visit www.sane.org for factsheets, podcasts, and a range of other helpful resources in the SANE Bookshop.