Working while experiencing depression can feel next to impossible some days. Below are a few tips for navigating work while depressed.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against job applicants and employees with disabilities. The law applies to private employers with 15+ employees and state and local government employers.
Though the ADA, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations at your workplace to help you perform your job duties (see “Know Your Rights as an Employee”). To request an accommodation:
Sometimes, you may need to take off multiple weeks in order to cope with depression.
If you feel like you’ve been discriminated against because of you’re depression, there are a number of actions you can take:
Looking for work while dealing with depression can be incredibly difficult. Below are a few tips for navigating the process.
Not having scheduled time can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression and disconnection. Try to create structure for yourself by setting office hours for searching for jobs and creating deadlines to work more efficiently. Make sure to give yourself frequent breaks to recharge, such as a walk outside or a call with a family member.
Research has shown that setting and reaching goals has a strong inverse relationship with depression. Set small, achievable goals, such as sending out X number of cover letters or even something unrelated, such as learning a new song on the piano. Small wins can make you feel much better about yourself.
It can be very tempting to stay in bed all day when you’re unemployed and depressed. After all, your former job was likely a large motivator in getting you out of bed each morning. Though you may not feel up for it, this could be a wonderful opportunity to learn a new hobby or volunteer at an organization you care about, in addition to your job search. Not only can you gain new skills and a greater sense of fulfillment, but staying busy can help ease some of your symptoms of depression as well.
Being out of work and clinically depressed can make the hard days seem impossible sometimes. Looking for a job requires stamina and energy, and a strong support network can help you so you don’t give up. Friends and family can also remind you that you are not alone throughout this process. Make sure you reach out to your support network a lot during the job search process.
Depression brain can make it so that your memory isn’t the most reliable. Try to stay organized by tracking information like place you’re considering applying, where you’ve applied, what the outcomes have been, etc. so that you don’t have to rely on your memory alone for all the information.
You are not required to disclose your mental illness(es) with prospective employers. The Americans with Disabilities Act considers clinical depression a protected disability, which means you can’t be discriminated against because of your depression.
In some instances, there may be periods of time when working becomes so difficult that maintaining employment isn’t possible. These times are incredibly difficult, but you can get through them. Reach out to friends and family for help, and look into the following national , which provide monthly income and health insurance for people who can’t work:
To qualify for SSDI you must have an impairment that prevents you from working for at least 12 months and you must have worked & paid into the Social Security program for a least 5 of the last 10 years. To apply, you can go in-person to any Social Security office or file an application online here.
Things to keep in mind:
To qualify for SSI benefits, you must have an impairment that prevents you from working on a regular basis. Additionally, you must have a very low income and less than $2000 in assets.
Things to keep in mind:
Let’s face it – depression can make reading really difficult. That’s why we’ve tried to make this website as accessible as possible – no long paragraphs, and text-to-speech capabilities. Simply highlight the text you want to read and press the play button.*
*if you are using text-to-speech on a mobile phone, make sure the sound is on