Most workplaces that employ young people, reasons for depression or mental health issues can arise from anywhere, be it too much work, not being appreciated enough, comfort zones, or not knowing where their lives are heading to. Like it can be difficult for parents to notice that their children are suffering from depression, bosses and CEOs may also not notice that their employees are having mental issues, and it also can be hard to know how to help them when they notice the signs. Ndera Neuro-Psychiatric Teaching Hospital says it has recorded an increasing number of cases related to depression which has made the illness feature, for the first time, among the top five recorded mental illnesses. According to a recent article by The New Times, the hospital says that since the beginning of this year, it has received 7,817 patients battling depression compared to 1,743 recorded last year. The majority of the new cases are middle-aged people between the ages of 20 to 39 years of age. How employers can help According to Dr. Cindi Cassady a clinical psychologist at Icyizere Psychotherapeutic Centre, employers should create a work culture that is “mental health friendly”- and they should freely talk about mental health wellness as part of the importance of the well-being and productivity of all employees. Healthy employees are loyal and productive employees. “Employers should stress to employees that they are not expected to respond to or send emails, or messages during their off hours. When they leave the office at 5 pm or 8 pm, they are now completely off the clock and are encouraged to focus on their personal and family life without having to think about work responsibilities. Just because you are employed, doesn’t mean your employer should expect all your time 24/7. Long work hours are linked to increased rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and unhealthy habits like excessive drinking,” she says. Herve Manzi, an employee in a software designing company, says that CEOs should also take time to interact with their employers in a sense of letting them know that they can come to them for any problem at any time without fear. “A boss that engages with employers will know when there is a problem, and will act on it earlier before it’s too late. Employers need a boss to work with but to also trust that they will grant them a day off when they feel that their anxiety is rising,” he says. How to tell that employees are battling depression According to Cassady, these are some signs that show when an employer is struggling mentally: Absenteeism or frequently late to work Not showing up for work without notifying the boss Presenteeism-showing up but not engaged or productive Seem sad or more quiet than usual Isolating/not socializing as much as they used to Trouble completing tasks on time Showing up in the morning with a hangover Work performance is not as good as it used to be Employers can prevent depression at work and help their young employers in so many ways, according to Dr. Cindi, creating programs that favor employees to speak up when they have a problem is one way. “As an employer create an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) that includes mental health benefits-employees insurance covers a designated number of psychotherapy sessions-contract with a local psychological organization that provides psychotherapy/wellness sessions,” she suggests. She continues that having different training programs on different subjects can help a lot, and having well-trained HR staff who are aware of staff needs and are unbiased/neutral when it comes to administration vs. employee needs. “Regular training at work on sexual harassment in the workplace, stress management, recognizing the signs and symptoms of burnout, and also respect an employee’s time off or vacation can initially make employers feel that they are seen,” she says.