Personal Assistance Service (PAS) | 2200 West Main Street | Erwin Square Tower | 4th Floor, Suite 400A | Durham, NC 27705 | 919-416-1PAS (919-416-1727)

Supervisor Newsletter

Newsletter-April 2017

Q. Do some employees with depression still function satisfactorily at work? If so, could they perform even better and more happily if treated? I have employees who appear depressed, and I don't know if I should refer them to Personal Assistance Service. But, I bet they would benefit if they went.

A. Many depressed employees can function at work adequately, but if treated would likely experience improvement in their social and occupational functioning. Some employees may suspect they have untreated depression, and some may not identify it at all because they have slowly adapted to its symptoms over an extended period. A crisis may bring these individuals into contact with outpatient mental health services, where the diagnosis is first identified. Depressed employees may appear slow to respond, lacking in energy, or resist engaging with others. Suggest a self-referral to Personal Assistance Service for obvious symptoms only, such as "you look really tired." If work tasks cannot be accomplished satisfactorily, consider a formal Supervisor/Management referral to Personal Assistance Service. Be careful to avoid labeling the personality of a depressed worker as lazy, quiet, unassuming, or "eccentric." When this happens, others in your work group may follow your lead and begin working around the employee. This will only lead to the condition lingering and the employee missing an opportunity to get the appropriate help.

Q. My employee's four-year-old child is coming to work with her this week because, according to my employee, there are "some logistical problems" at home. I did agree to make this concession. I am aware that my employee's brother was released from prison recently and moved in with her. I am worried that a safety issue exists. What should I do?

A. It is prudent and appropriate to understand what might be going on here. Ask your employee if she is concerned about the safety of her child at home. This may alleviate your concern or suggest further steps. This action is not probing or being intrusive because you have concerns about a child's welfare. Contact Personal Assistance Service to consult with one of the counselors regarding this matter. There may be no serious issues at home, but something is clearly out of the ordinary, and the Personal Assistance Service counselor can help you sort out what your responsibility is in this situation. Personal assistance Service can also suggest ways you can encourage the employee to self-refer to PAS. The counseling staff at Personal Assistance Service are expert motivational interviewers and have the skills and the assurances of confidentiality needed to understand more about you employee's situation than she may be willing to tell you.