Do you feel burdened every moment you go to work? Or probably feel exhausted most of the time at work? This is an indication that your workplace environment is draining you, you could be depressed, and failure to access medical attention would risk more health threats as doctors emphasize. Dr Victoria Kress, a licensed clinical counselor at mHub Rwanda, a mental health clinic in Kigali says that jobs do not cause depression, but a host of factors can do. However, the work environment may worsen symptoms for people who already struggle with depression. For her, any work setting or job can be a cause or contribute to worsened depression symptoms. Jobs that are high stress and do not have a supportive environment can contribute to depression. Conversely, jobs where people have supportive colleagues and supervisors and they enjoy their work help prevent workplace depression. Christella Ishimwe, a clinical psychologist in Kigali stresses that depression is feelings of persistent sadness related to a negative working environment. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home. She adds that causes of depression at work may include, working in a toxic work environment, being overworked or underpaid, experiencing workplace harassment, working in conditions that are against your personal values, working on tasks or environment you do not like, working with a team that discriminates you, experiencing toxic relationships with coworkers or supervisors, feeling bored and not fulfilled in your job. Kress stresses that a negative work environment can lead to mental and physical health struggles, missed work or absenteeism, it can limit productivity, and can lead to not just depression but other mental health struggles such as anxiety and substance abuse. “Work depression may manifest in different ways. People may withdraw or isolate from others. They may arrive to work late. They may find themselves procrastinating more, may make more work errors, or have difficulty making decisions. They may seem disinterested in work, or they may be forgetful and detached from others. Some people, especially males, may come off as more irritable, or angry. They may also appear more overwhelmed or emotional,” Kress states. She also points out that work stress involves a feeling of being anxious and involves muscle tension or physical symptoms such as headaches, yet depression is more persistent and comprises more severe struggles that do not pass and might include feelings of sadness or dissatisfaction of one’s work or one’s self or others. For Ishimwe, work stress is characterised by a lot of fatigue, occasional irritability, anxiety, muscle tension or headaches, and when your schedule is filled with stressors related to your work. While work depression is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness without any specific stressor, which may cause fatigue, lack of focus and concentration. Kress adds that especially with the isolation that has occurred because of the pandemic, people may feel work depression. People can take short breaks away from their desk or office, as permitted. Any opportunity to get outside or be around other people can be helpful as well. She highlights that integrating any type of exercise into your routine can be so helpful since exercise is an antidepressant. Many people look at their phones when they get a break, but it is more helpful for your mental health to engage in mindfulness or a relaxation exercise. Ultimately, phone activities aren’t good for one’s mental health. According to her, there are many risk factors that contribute to work depression. Managers or a workspace that is not supportive can be a big problem. When employees do not feel appreciated, are not compensated appropriately, when there are difficult people working within the work environment, when one’s job is especially stressful, or when one has poor social support at work they are at risk for work depression. She notes that counseling can be a helpful way to address workplace depression. Including more things in your life that bring you joy is also helpful. Connection with others is often the antidote to depression; it is through connection with our loved ones that we can feel our best. It is important to reach out to your supervisors. Ishimwe advises doing some exercise after work (meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, gym, swimming, jogging and others), depending on the one you like, they do wonders for mental health. She further notes that you ought to set boundaries in your relationship with other coworkers, every time you find it necessary, say no to one small thing so you can experience less stress during the day, engage yourself mindfully in self-love activities and talk to friends and family after work. For her, risk factors are negative workplace environment, workplace bullying, disorganized way of dispatching tasks, indifferent managers, among others. “No matter how hard you try, if you don’t get better, sick help outside of work. For example, psychotherapy, sometimes combined with medication if needed and prescribed by a mental health professional, and lifestyle interventions are often recommended for treating any type of depression, including work-related depression,” Ishimwe states.