Identifying, understanding depression in the workplace

With the recent shocking suicide of public figures such as Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, everyone is thinking about how pervasive depression might be.  And we wonder how we could spot it, understand it and help those afflicted with it. We asked Dr. Lia Bernardo, a psychoneurologist, to enlighten us.

But first, let us define depression. The reason for this is because people have begun to use depression as an adjective for how they feel a little too loosely. In psychoneurology, we describe depression as a state of being, wherein one is not able to love and nurture themselves. And this state of being can be changed to one that is flowing and expansive and thriving through the use of resources that lead to self-nurturing, self-acceptance and self-empowerment.


Q: Could work stress really result in depression?

Stress is the foundation of disease. In essence, stress causes you to be in an emotional and physical state of being that is not natural. It is not the state of being that is most complimentary to who you truly are.  The way you manage stress is key to your emotional and physical state.


Q: How does depression affect productivity in the workplace?

Your state of being definitely affects your productivity in the workplace. I would prefer to call it your emotional state of being.  And your emotional state of being will definitely affect your life, your relationships, your work output, even your motivation and efficiency and your ability to innovate.  Happy employees are highly productive, efficient and innovative.

Q: What is the most common manifestation of a person with depression?

Manifestations vary from person to person. We cannot put them in boxes because you can’t box up and label people.  But generally, it is a feeling of being unmotivated, and lack of excitement about the present and the future. It also sometimes manifests as feelings of cynicism, judgement and general criticism and even anger, but these are all just generalizations.

Q: How can you encourage a coworker talk about depression?

Show up for yourself and then you can show up for others.  In as much as we want to help, the best help we can give is to be present for that person, and teach them by example to be present for themselves.  Knowing that there is someone who cares and loves them will empower them to love themselves.

Bernardo will give a talk on “Understanding Depression: Identify and Support Colleagues and Family Members who are in a Depressed State” on Aug. 24, 2018 (2:00-4:00 p.m.).


This two-hour learning session aims to help professionals achieve wellbeing in the workplace to be more productive and happy at work.

The Inquirer Academy is at 4168 Don Chino Roces Ave. corner Ponte St., Makati City. For more information about the session or if you would like to add your input on the article, you may email [email protected], call (632) 834-1557 or 771-2715  and look for Jerald Miguel or Judy Bondoc. Visit www.inquireracademy.com for the schedule of courses.

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