Caan, Woody, Stanley, Nicky and Manthorpe, Jill
Depression and persistent effects on work: an 'expert patient' survery of 500 social workers.
Journal of Public Mental Health, 5
Widespread effects are reported on UK economic productivity through poorly managed depressive illness in the workplace. Starting in 1999, the authors have investigated the onset, treatment and recovery from depression as experienced personally by members of the caring professions, using first-hand accounts to generate a composite picture of ‘what works for me’ in managing depression, and in particular ‘what works’ in maintaining or returning to employment in health and social care. This paper reports findings from a survey of 500 social workers. Negative perceptions of previous help from professional sources (such as general practitioner, psychiatrist or psychotherapist) were related specifically to three persisting, negative effects at work: lack of concentration, low confidence, and irritability (with tiredness). These occupational effects were strongly associated with each other. In relation to occupational health, inadequate treatment of depression may allow these negative effects on performance to persist. The findings are discussed in relation to conceptual frameworks about well-being taken from ‘positive psychology’ that suggest future approaches to both prevention and rehabilitation of these occupational problems.