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Employment services for people with depression

The experience of each person with depression is unique. For many people with depression, employment can provide structure and purpose in their day-to-day lives. Others may find that their symptoms are exacerbated by factors in the workplace, highlighting how important it is to have the right support systems in place.

If you are a person with depression, the below tips can help you find and keep a job you love.

At EPIC we believe in helping people with depression find a workplace that is the right fit for them. We always endeavour to find an environment of supportive colleagues and an atmosphere that encourages positive thinking. A place to build skills, be a part of the community, and most importantly, be comfortable. If you would like to discuss how EPIC can help you achieve your employment goals, get in touch with us today.

Support networks

It is important for people with depression to feel supported in their professional and personal lives. That is why one of the first steps towards employment for a person with depression is to involve their support networks. This might include family members, friends, and health professionals. Professional support from health professionals such as GPs, psychologists, and psychiatrists is an important factor in managing mental health conditions. Having a support network can help people with depression to cope with feelings of isolation and disconnectedness, which often occur with the condition. Taking the time to check in can make a huge difference in helping the person with depression to manage their condition.

At EPIC, our Employment Consultants and Mental Health Consultants provide individualised services for people with depression, taking the time to understand what each person needs and how best to support them on their employment journey.

Other support groups offer a safe and encouraging space for people with depression to connect with their community. If you are a person with depression and would like to build your support network, EPIC can help.

Preparing for the right job

When the appropriate support networks are in place, the next step to employment is to consider the strengths, abilities and interests of the person with depression. This might feel challenging to a person with depression due to the common symptoms of the condition, such as overwhelming sadness, loss of interest in previously-enjoyed activities, and lethargy. Support networks can be a valuable resource to help a person with depression to map out their positive attributes.

Finding the right job is not always easy, and sometimes it can take time for a person with depression to discover the right job and workplace for them. Volunteering can be a great way to get involved with the community while preparing for employment. It can help a person with depression to build skills, experience, and confidence in a work setting.

At EPIC we take the time to prepare you for the right job. We can recommend an approach to employment that suits your unique needs and aspirations, and create a tailored job plan that suits you.

Interview techniques

Job interviews have the ability to intensify a person’s symptoms, which is why it’s important to consider what options might help a person with depression to feel more comfortable during the process.

People with depression should consider whether the following strategies may help during an interview:

  • Practice interviews. Role-playing an interview situation may help reduce stress during a real interview.
  • Schedule a time that suits the person with depression. Some people with depression may perform better at certain times of the day. This can depend on many factors, such as when they take their medication.
  • Approach disability confident businesses. Disability confident businesses are willing to adjust the interview to the needs of person with depression. These businesses may be able to offer additional interview adjustments that can help minimise stress, such as having an ‘informal chat’ rather than a formal interview and providing ongoing feedback throughout the interview.
  • Acknowledge nerves and highlight positive traits. It’s normal to feel nervous or anxious in an interview setting, but people with depression may experience this more acutely. It may help to acknowledge this feeling and then reframe it in a positive light, or draw attention to the strengths instead of perceived limitations.

Despite mental health being more widely discussed nowadays, many people with depression remain concerned that disclosing their condition will jeopardise their chance of securing employment. EPIC regularly works with businesses to help them understand how to make the interview process more comfortable for people with depression. We believe that more employers are becoming disability confident than ever and can accommodate the needs of people with depression. Whether or not the individual chooses to disclose their condition, EPIC will work with the employer to make the interview adjustments required to help the person with depression better demonstrate their skills and talents.

We also mentor people with depression through the job interview process. We offer support and can recommend tips and strategies which will help you land your dream job.

Lesley stands with one of the children she supports, with face paint on their faces.

On-the-job support

Starting a new position is a stressful time for most people, but especially for a person with depression. This can be particularly true if a person with depression had a previous workplace experience that was unsupportive. Being in a new role can make us feel less competent that we want to be, but that doesn’t mean we’re not suitable for the role. It’s important for a person with depression to remember that they were hired for the role because the employer believed they could do the job, with time and support.

Identifying appropriate supports can help a person with depression to settle into the role and build confidence. A workplace buddy or mentor can guide the person with depression to navigate the new work environment and encourage them in their role. It can be helpful for the person with depression to have a support worker at their side as they transition into work. At EPIC, we stay with our job seekers for as long as they need our support- this may be weeks, months, or longer.

Sometimes, colleagues may not understand the experience of living with depression, which means they may struggle to exercise empathy or understanding. Mental health training and disability awareness training can help people at all levels in an organisation to build their understanding of disability and better support their staff and colleagues.

At EPIC, we work with employers to determine what training or supports can help their workplace to be more inclusive and supportive for people with depression and other disabilities. Having managers and colleagues in their support network can help a person with depression to feel more included and valued, helping them to become more confident in their role.

Reasonable adjustments

Many people with depression know how to manage their condition in a work environment. Others may require more support and guidance on what adjustments may help them be productive and take care of their mental wellbeing.

Some people with depression may benefit from flexible working hours so that they can be at work during the times they feel most productive, and to ensure they have adequate time to attend appointments. Flexible work arrangements may also be an option, allowing the person with depression to work from home or in a private workspace.

Workplace adjustments look different for each individual. It’s important to understand what each person with depression needs in order to thrive in their role.

EPIC is a great resource when it comes to identifying and recommending reasonable adjustments in the workplace. We advocate for people with depression in the workplace and are able to navigate the trickier conversations when asking for adjustments to your working environment.

Our approach

Supporting people with depression and other mental health conditions is a big part of what we do at EPIC. We support them throughout their employment journey until our assistance is no longer needed, and we also support their employers to foster successful, sustainable employment outcomes.

It is estimated that almost one in two Australians will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, and in any given year there are around one million people with depression. Mental health touches so many lives and is a big part of the employment journey, which is why we invest in a specialised mental health support program for job seekers. Our Mental Health Consultants have expertise in mental health therapeutic approaches and employment services, and can support people with depression to develop practical skills and strategies to better manage their mental health.

We believe that people with depression can be successful in employment when given an opportunity to thrive. People with depression can come to EPIC:

  • through Centrelink, where they choose EPIC as their Disability Employment Services provider
  • by self-referring, which means they come straight to us and don’t go to Centrelink first

We work alongside people with depression to discover their interests, strengths and abilities. We also identify any skills gaps and training courses to help people with depression reach their employment goals.

We know what it takes to help a person with depression find a job they love. If you would like to find out more about our services, contact us today.

Rebecca’s mental illness no longer defines her

It wasn’t until Rebecca hit rock bottom that she realised she needed help. Now Rebecca is proving that not only can she excel in her job, she has the confidence and independence to move forward in her future.