Friend with depression because of work.

(7 Posts)
mirtzapine Wed 16-Oct-13 13:28:24

Sorry if this is the wrong place to post - I'm new to all this.

I have a friend who has had depression on and off for a while. Recently, last week, he took an accidental overdose - because as he put it "didn't want to think for a while, I just wanted to switch off".

He's signed off work for the rest of this week and I posted his sick note for him last week by registered post - so I trust his employer has it.

This morning at ten to seven his boss rang him, he didn't answer as he's call screening. Except the effect of just hearing his bosses voice has sent him into quite a distressed state. His boss does know that he has been receiving treatment for depression for the last four months.

He's awaiting confirmation of a psychiatric referral. I've spoke to a mental health nurse on his behalf and her advice is for him (among other things) not to quit work - yet.

I'm trying my best to support him, and he's now adamant that he never wants to set foot in "that place" again. I've tried calling the CAB helpline and am going to go and try to see them tomorrow.

I don't want him to make any "rash decisions, as he's not in the right frame of mind" (that's a phrase the mental health nurse used).

Can anyone give me any advice as to what to ask for and how I support him more than just being a shoulder to cry on. I do look in on him from time to time and have found him sitting in front of a clock and recanting how long to go before he has to go back to work.

I'd like to help him detach himself from work as gracefully as possible. So where can I get advice?, what should I be asking for? and how much should I do. An extra piece of information he's a permanent employee with a three month termination period in his contract.

thekingfisher Wed 16-Oct-13 13:42:22

Firstly, its probably not unreasonable for his boss to call him if he doesnt know he's off sick yet. What is his company's sickness policy re calling in? Policy on SSP or any other sickness pay/benefits. He should/ or someone on his behalf if he is unable to - at least phone HR to ensure his note been received. he may need to send an email explaining he is giving you permission to do this.

If he informs his employers that he has been diagnosed with Depression then there is a duty of care there and they will then ( hopefully ) take suitable and reasonable steps to support him. If they don't know they can't be given responsibility for supporting him in that way

The MH nurse is right now is not the time to leave the company as with treatment and a title time he will hopefully be in a better place and may be able to return.. However, her MUST start engaging with his Company. Do you or he believe that the Depression has been caused by the company - in which case that is something that needs to raised - if not at the moment then down the line - to ensure that any environmetnn he returns into is improved/adjusted. Is it a big company is there an HR dept? if so start speaking to them if you are able - otherwise it is just head in the sand by him and will not help put a plan in place where he has time off for recovery and treatment then a staged return ( if appropriate) and action taken in the firm to remedy any issues

The website here here is very good also these people are very good and will be able to talk to you too and give you some advice

HTH

Tiredemma Wed 16-Oct-13 13:44:25

how has it been caused by work? is he being bullied?

mirtzapine Wed 16-Oct-13 14:08:26

As I said I sent the letter direct to his line manager by registered post, I also know that he informed his line manager not long after he was first diagnosed.

Its going to be tough getting him to engage with work, I'll find out the HR managers name and try to get him to call.

I'm a bit surprised that his line manager rang at ten to seven (6:50 I received a panic-y call from him at 7ish), especially as he "Should" have got the GP's sick note yesterday. And I can confirm its not an "if" he has informed I know he has, he'd bcc'd me on the email that he sent to his line manager four moths ago when he was first diagnosed as he was feeling a little paranoid.

I don't think he's being bullied per-se but having said that, he often has complained to me that they talk to him like and idiot, that he gets constantly conflicting instructions from his matrix of managers. And he is having to do something that he wasn't employed to do.

BrownSauceSandwich Wed 16-Oct-13 14:52:45

First of all, I'm sorry to hear of your friend's illness... You must be really worried. He's obviously very depressed but, based on the evidence you've put to us, it's not obvious that it's because of his work. Now probably isn't the time to worry about the distinction, but it may become important if he needs to claim for work-related injury, or if he has problems with sick records or sick pay.

His manager is doing things right by trying to get in contact with him... Maybe not at 6:50am, but if that's the sort of time he normally starts work..? Just because somebody is depressed, it doesnt necessarily follow that they don't want to engage with their colleagues. In fact, for many people, it would make things worse to feel they'd been completely sidelined. It's hugely important in making returns to work more comfortable. And if there are problems with his working environment, how else can the employer know to put them right?

It's common practice for employers to expect weekly contact from the sick employee, or whatever the period of the sick note. Its really not enough to just stick the sick note in an envelope. If that's going to aggravate his illness then he needs to arrange contact through an intermediary, ideally a union rep, maybe a family member or a friend. Or if its specifically his manager he can't face speaking to, maybe somebody in HR would be less intimidating. But setting up something himself (with help) is the best way of ensuring its done on his terms.

mirtzapine Wed 16-Oct-13 15:38:09

BrownSauceSandwich thank you very much for that advice

LovesBeingOnHoliday Thu 17-Oct-13 05:24:56

The times would make sense if Tgey fitted in with shift patterns of work, if not then I would say it was unreasonable .

It's not unreasonable for them to want to speak with him, Tgey may want to check he's ok, estaish how long he may be off, need to organize a meeting , comfirm his sick pay etc.

He is going to need to communicate with them and it's unlikely that Tgey would be happy to speak with you. Could he send an email asking for written communication only for now?

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