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Depression in the Workplace: The Silent Battle (Part-1)

Work table with a mess of laptops, coffees mugs, etc.

In the bustling corridors of the professional world, where deadlines loom and expectations soar, a silent battle often unfolds within the hearts and minds of employees dealing with depression. This silent struggle is not characterized by outwardly visible wounds or obvious signs but is instead a deeply internal and often concealed journey that shapes the very fabric of an individual’s daily existence.

Depression, by its nature, is elusive, its impact woven into the very fibers of one’s being. In the workplace, where the emphasis often lies on productivity and professionalism, the silent battle becomes even more pronounced. The facade of normalcy maintained by those grappling with depression can be both a coping mechanism and a barrier to seeking the understanding and support they desperately need.

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Author

Tina Balachandran

Clinical Director & Clinical Psychologist

Tina is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 18 years of experience across clinical, aviation, and organisational settings. As a Certified Complex Trauma Professional, she uses an integrative strength-based approach to work with adults dealing with trauma and consults with organisations following critical incidents. She also works with couples, helping them learn how to replace negative conflict patterns with positive interactions, repair past hurts, and begin creating a shared meaning and purpose in their relationship.

The silence is not born out of a desire to conceal weakness but rather from the fear of being misunderstood, judged, or stigmatized. Individuals wrestling with depression often find themselves caught in a delicate balancing act—projecting an image of competence while internally grappling with a myriad of emotional complexities. The fear of being perceived as incapable or unreliable can be paralyzing, leading many to navigate their struggles silently, behind a carefully constructed mask.

In the workplace, the silent battle manifests in various ways. On the surface, an employee might appear engaged, competent, and even successful, yet beneath this veneer, a complex internal struggle unfolds. The relentless inner dialogue, the emotional exhaustion, and the effort required to maintain a semblance of normalcy can create an additional layer of stress, exacerbating the impact of depression on an individual’s mental health.

Moreover, the workplace culture itself can inadvertently contribute to the silence surrounding mental health challenges. In environments where discussions about mental well-being are scarce, and the prevailing narrative is one of resilience and unwavering strength, those wrestling with depression may feel compelled to keep their struggles hidden. The stigma attached to mental health conditions can cast a long shadow, further isolating individuals who are already contending with a profound sense of loneliness.

The silent battle is not solely about the absence of verbal expression; it extends to the isolation and solitude experienced by those navigating the depths of depression. Colleagues may be unaware of the daily internal strife faced by their peers, and supervisors may inadvertently overlook signs of distress. The workplace becomes a theater where individuals act out the roles expected of them while concealing the emotional turbulence within.

This silence is not a choice but often a response to an environment that may not yet be fully equipped to embrace and understand the complexities of mental health. It highlights the urgent need for workplaces to transform into spaces where the silent battle can be acknowledged, and where individuals feel empowered to share their struggles without fear of judgment.

Creating a workplace culture that encourages open conversations about mental health is a crucial step in breaking the silence. It involves fostering an environment where vulnerability is viewed as a strength, not a weakness, and where individuals can express their needs without fear of repercussions. The silent battle can only truly be dismantled when workplaces become havens of compassion, understanding, and active support for those dealing with depression.

The silent battle is a poignant reality for many individuals navigating depression in the workplace. Acknowledging its existence is the first step towards creating a workplace culture that recognizes and responds to the silent struggles of its employees. By fostering an atmosphere of understanding and providing avenues for open dialogue, we can collectively work towards transforming the workplace into a space where the silent battle can be replaced by a chorus of support, empathy, and resilience.

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Author

Tina Balachandran

Clinical Director & Clinical Psychologist

Tina is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 18 years of experience across clinical, aviation, and organisational settings. As a Certified Complex Trauma Professional, she uses an integrative strength-based approach to work with adults dealing with trauma and consults with organisations following critical incidents. She also works with couples, helping them learn how to replace negative conflict patterns with positive interactions, repair past hurts, and begin creating a shared meaning and purpose in their relationship.

Dr. Iram Kassis

Consultant Psychiatrist

Bhavna Sharma Naik

Bhavna Sharma NaikBhavna is an embodiment of expression in Hindi, and what better way to convey her feelings than through the art of dance and movement. From the tender age of 5, she has dedicated her life to learning, practicing, and performing various dance forms from around the world. Dance has been her refuge, helping her navigate through pain, hurt, and worries, ultimately leading her to the path of sharing this wisdom through rhythm and movement therapy. With over 22 years of teaching experience, Bhavna has transformed numerous students, spanning kids, adults, and children with autism, using movement as a medium for both enjoyment and meditation. She firmly believes that movement serves as a non-verbal language that connects body, mind, and soul, enabling individuals to express their inner selves. As a Visharad in Indian classical dance and holding certifications in yoga, Pilates, fitness, and a diploma in special needs education, Bhavna is well-equipped to guide others on their transformative journey through dance and movement.

Latifa Al Kuwari

With a passion for museums and a background in art history, Latifa Al-Kuwari serves as Head of Academic & Outreach at 321 Qatar Olympic & Sports Museum and a mother of three. With her 5 years experience in the Learning & Outreach Department she creates and delivers special programs tailored for diverse audiences. Her expertise lies in fostering museum engagement & enriching educational experiences for museum visitors.
Mo Eraky

Mohamed Eraky

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Sheldon Smith

Sheldon Smith

Founding Principal, Northview International School

Experienced Principal with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. He has been working away from Canada for the past 24 years, covering Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Qatar. In Qatar, he previously worked for Al Khor International School (8 years) and Al Jazeera Academy (4 years).

Anshu Jain

Anshu Jain

A versatile on-stage personality with over 13 years of experience in hosting 250+ events, spanning sports, corporate, and entertainment. A sought-after digital content creator known for creativity. A successful brand promoter, explorer, and fashion enthusiast. A seasoned voice-over artist with a track record of prestigious projects and a facilitator for talk shows.
Kirsten Hutchison

Kirsten Hutchison, MT-BC

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Kamila Janik, MSC, BCBA

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Stefan Lindberg-Jones

Stefan Lindberg-Jones

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Arafa Alhammadi

Arafa Alhammadi

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Najla Al Kuwari

Najla Al Kuwari

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Menatalla Metwally Said ElBadway

Menatalla Metwally Said ElBadway

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Mahnaz Mousavi

Dr. Mahnaz Mousavi

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Iain Tulley

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Moses Amonje

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Amna AlMuhannadi

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Dr. Mohammed Jaham Al-Kuwari

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Dr. Mohammed Jaham Al-Kuwari’s multifaceted contributions, both in the medical field and the world of sports, make him an exceptional individual who continues to impact the lives of many in Qatar positively.

Suhaila A. H. Ghuloum,
FRCPsych, L.R.C.P& S.I., M.B., B.Ch., B.A.0

Dr. Suhaila GhuloumDr. Ghuloum is a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at Hamad Medical Corporation, Professor at Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, and an Associate Professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine, Qatar.

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Dr. Ghuloum has several research projects and publications, in addition to presentations at regional and international conferences.

Joanna Rekik

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Shefa Ali

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Dr. Nelli El-Ghazal

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Pierre Daniel

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Marketing professional, with an everlasting passion for sport and physical activity. Through his journey, he became an ambassador for an active and healthy lifestyle. In 2018, Pierre ran 477km around Qatar in seven days, unassisted, establishing the Fastest Known Time for the circumnavigation of the country and setting a Guinness World Record at the time for the fastest north to south crossing of the country.

Through his personal development as an endurance athlete, Pierre developed a holistic approach in preparation for challenges, including physical and mental mindfulness, goal settings condition, preparedness, and more. Pierre is also a certified endurance coach, helping athletes develop their potential and reach their goals

Abubaker Ali

Abubaker AliFormer Qatar athletic and Coach.

Dr Ameera

Dr. Ameera Al-Kharaz

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She has a special interest in life and wellness coaching, helping individuals reach their full potential and lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Dr. Ameera finds fulfillment in her clinical work, collaborating with patients, and her role as a quality advocate, facilitating programs and quality improvement projects within the Mental Health Service and across HMC.