Employees can be helped to be more productive

Employees with mild or moderate psychiatric disorders can be helped to lead more rewarding and productive lives in the workplace, says Gary L. Fischler, PhD. This case study about an employee named "Jack" shows what can be done with the proper referral and treatment:

"Jack" suffers from chronic depression. This in turn has led to chronic poor motivation, problems sleeping, a poor appetite, irritability, chronic pessimism, poor concentration, thoughts of suicide, and failed jobs and a failed marriage. At work, he had low productivity and poor initiative, poor motivation, and trouble staying on task. He had a tendency to make too many mistakes, be hypersensitive, and have a low stress tolerance. He also was not very likeable.

Jack had a job ordering automobile parts through a computer, but he made numerous errors and was fired. In the depths of depression, he thought about suicide, then realized he needed help. He also knew he needed to make money or he would lose his house.

Jack applied for services at a state vocational rehabilitation agency. He met with a counselor, and was referred to a psychologist for further evaluation. The psychologist recommended referral for medication and psychotherapy. Jack started taking anti-depressants, he felt better and his mood improved somewhat. His counselor found him a job as a warehouse manager; the workplace was low-key, expectations were simple and straightforward, and he didn’t have to juggle too many different tasks. This type of job is ideal for employees with chronic depression, since they do not think well on their feet or handle making independent decisions very well. What Jack could do was handle structured tasks.

The change has seemed to work for Jack. He has his good days and his bad days, but on the good days he is pretty effective and productive. On bad days he is often late, but he basically gets the job done and things are better for him.