Because everyone’s experience of depression and anxiety is different, the following information should be used as a guide only. Equally, having these symptoms doesn't necessarily mean you or someone you work with has depression or anxiety. For an accurate diagnosis and advice, it’s important to see a health professional. 

If you or someone in your workplace is in crisis and you think immediate action is needed, call emergency services (triple zero – 000), contact your doctor or local mental health crisis service, or go to your local hospital emergency department.

 

 

Talk to someone now. Phone 1300 22 46 36

Depression

While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood – it's a serious condition that affects your physical and mental health.

People with depression usually experience symptoms for more than two weeks across at least three of the following categories:

  • behaviour – such as not going out anymore, not getting things done at work, withdrawing from close family and friends, relying on alcohol and sedatives, avoiding usual enjoyable activities and having difficulty concentrating
  • feelings – such as feeling guilty, overwhelmed, irritable, frustrated, unconfident, unhappy, indecisive, disappointed, miserable or sad
  • thoughts – such as ‘I’m a failure’, It’s my fault’, ‘Nothing good ever happens to me’, ‘I’m worthless’, ‘Life’s not worth living’, or ‘People would be better off without me’
  • physical symptoms – such as being constantly tired, feeling sick and run-down, having headaches and muscle pains, a churning gut, sleep problems, loss or change of appetite, experiencing significant weight loss or gain.

For more information on depression, including treatment and support options, visit the beyondblue website

Anxiety

Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where we feel under pressure, it usually passes once the stressful situation has passed, or ‘stressor’ is removed.

Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don't subside – when they're ongoing and exist without any particular reason or cause. It’s a serious condition that makes it hard to cope with daily life. 

There are different anxiety conditions, each with their own set of symptoms. Only a health professional can provide a diagnosis and advice on treatment – visiting your GP is a good first step if you're unsure.

Some common general symptoms include:

  • hot and cold flushes
  • racing heart
  • tightening of the chest
  • obsessive thinking
  • compulsive behaviour
  • ‘snowballing’ worries.

Find out more about different types of anxiety, treatment options, and who can provide support.

 

 

Racing

heart?

The symptoms of anxiety can 

be hard to pin down 

Signs and symptoms – supporting a colleague

If you're concerned that someone you work with doesn't quite seem themselves, having a conversation and checking they’re OK can make a real difference. Having a colleague show concern can often be a turning point, encouraging them to seek support. Remember, it’s not your role to diagnose depression, anxiety or a related condition, or to provide counselling. 

You might notice a colleague is:

  • turning up late to work, often off sick or taking unexplained days off
  • finding it hard to make decisions, manage multiple tasks or meet deadlines
  • losing confidence and having negative thought patterns
  • struggling to concentrate
  • avoiding colleagues – either socially or in group situations such as meetings.

Personal stories from the workplace

Watch people from a range of backgrounds talk about their experiences of mental health conditions in the workplace, and share their stories of recovery, support and resilience.

Need more information?

beyondblue has an extensive catalogue of resources for people who experience depression and anxiety, as well as for their colleagues and managers.

If you'd like to speak to someone about beyondblue information resources, or order them over the phone, please call the beyondblue Support Service on 1300 224 636. 

The SANE Australia website has a range of fact sheets and podcasts to support people at work. You can can also check out the Black Dog Institute's  fact sheets for yourself and your colleagues.