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Depression & burnout from work worsened by pandemic

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Posted at 9:00 PM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-01 08:33:18-05

Emma Church's quiet Waco psychology practice is an oasis from a world full of emails, deadlines, and Zoom calls.

"Burnout is about the demands that are on us and our ability to meet those demands," Church said.

She said work is just one of the many stressors leading to increased rates of depression and burnout since the pandemic began.

"We have ... stressful work environments as it is," Church said. "Plus the demands of, if you're a parent, parenting with the uncertainty of whether or not you're gonna be sick and need to be out," Church said.

Assistant human resources management professor at Texas A&M University-Central Texas, YeongJoon Yoon, agrees that the pandemic has increased the demands of work, as well as family.

"My kids may catch the COVID-19 virus today and may not be able to go to school tomorrow, or be hospitalized, which will affect my ability to work," Yoon said.

The National Institutes of Health estimates that 21 million Americans were impacted by depression in 2020. Experts some of the solutions start with employers.

"My hope is that companies will start to really understand the value of providing mental health resources and mental health accommodations to their employees," Church said.

Burnout may also be contributing to "The Great Resignation" impacting businesses across the country, according to Yoon. Bosses will need to begin recognizing the need for a healthy work-life balance.

"Organizations that cannot provide this to employees can no longer be the employer of choice," he said.

Some signs of workplace depression, according to Texas Health, include withdrawal, isolation, poor hygiene, and irritability, among others.

Church said if your employer is not meeting your mental health needs, setting boundaries is an important step to take.

"We really need to be focusing on being healthy, well-rounded humans, and then employees maybe later on down that list," she said.