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HOW TO HELP WORK COLLEAGUE I AM REALLY, REALLY WORRIED ABOUT(10 Posts)
Yesterday, a work colleague confided in my about his severe depression. We had talk about depression before and he knew I had been depressed and how stronly I felt about the lackof understanding of mental health issues. We work closely and get on very well so I think he felt comfortable telling me his story.
I told him yesterday that I had had a breakdown but, thank God, had responded to meds.
He told me that the last 3 years have been particularly bad for him, with suicidal thoughts. He has tried every med going, but none have worked due to either severe side effects or resulting in his having no feelings whatsoever (which he hated). CBT doesn't seem to have helped either.
I am really worried for him. His work is brilliant because he puts unbelievable amounts of effort in but he told me that he dreads coming to work every day and it is draining him completely which is not suprising bearing in mind that his sleep is very, very poor.
They are just about to buy a house and his wife is due with first baby in May.
He has had time off work before but against his doctor's wishes, he came back after 3 months.
As far as I can see, continuing to work is putting a huge strain on him but he is driving himself because of the mortgage etc. This would be their first home- they are young and don't have money to fall back on.
I listened to him yesterday and my heart broke for him but I really felt stuck in what to say because for me, I would't be here but for the meds so how can you help someone for whom they don't work?
He doesn't want to do shock therapy and I feel he feels he is running out of options.
I am working from home today. He is off and we will both be back in tomorrow.
Have told him that if there is anything I can do, he only has to shout but I feel this isn't enough and wish there was something I could do, apart from listening to him.
I would be really, really grateful for any ideas or tips etc.
Thanks for reading this.
xxx(unmumsnetty kisses but what the heck!!)
Do your work offer any occupational health services? I've referred colleagues in the past for support on various medical issues - both physical and mental - so wondered if this is an option?
Yes they do but my colleague has filtered what he has told them because if he told them how he was really feeling, he would not be allowed to work. He has also spoken to a counsellor in work who had no understanding and told him, there were plenty of others worse off!
It is heartbreaking to see someone so down.
Thanks so much for replying.
It's so difficult for you isn't it.
Short of reporting what he's told you to his line manager, I can't think what else you can do other than support and advise and hope that one day he decides to follow the advice.
Do you know his partner at all?
No, haven't met his wife and I can't tell his line manager unless he is happy for me to do so. He has filtered what he has told that manager as again, he feels that if were truthful, he would be sent home. He is concerned with finances and looming house purchase.
I will chat to him tomorrow and see whether he might be able to try again with some meds to help him sleep as lack of sleep doesn't help at all. His wife was happy for him to speak with me. I really feel for her as i think she is the only one he confides in and she is having a difficult pregnancy.
Honestly, I think pschotherapy would be his best bet. Possibly even as an inpatient (in a rehab maybe, not necessarily a psych unit).
It sounds like he has deep-rooted issues he needs to deal with before any improvement in the symptoms can be expected
It's hard to watch someone flounder like that and not be able to help, but he has to want to face up to whatever is underneath, to be able to recover, as painful as that process may be...
Thanks vitaminC. Not sure whether he has tried that. Will try and broach with him tom. Meanwhile, I will see what I can find out about pschotherapy.
You sound lovely, but a note of caution not to get too involved. If this is someone who won't stay on meds, for whatever reason and who hasn't benefitted from CBT etc, then the chances of you as a non-MH professional being able to help him sort this out are slim.
Be supportive, listen to him, but don't try and fix him as that's something he needs to do himself.
I'm going to add a further note of caution.
This is how an awful lot of affairs start. He needs you desperately and you (like everyone else) enjoy being needed. He's talking to you when he should be talking to his wife....and she's pregnant.
I'm sorry if I'm well of the mark, but even if I am now, things might not stay that way. I'm afraid I know from experience just how fast things can develop and the pull of being needed/the difficulty of walking away when you're needed.
All you can do that will actually help, rather than feel like to you like you're doing what you can, is help him get the professional help he needs and tell him that the intimate conversations he's having with you, he should be having with his wife.
Again, I don't mean to cast aspersions and I'm sure your intentions are all good but do be careful. IME you should be wary of getting to close to a desperate married man.
Hi - if he wants long term or inpatient therapy on NHS it is very hard to get, and has long waiting lists in most areas if it is at all possible. Just to warn. Also if he is inpatient work will be informed and that may not be what he wants?
Unless he is open and transparent about how difficult things are for him, he is unlikely to get the help he needs. Which is where the difficulty lies. Yes if he filtered things for work counsellor there probably are many worse than him (that does not make it a helpful comment!)
Is it possible that due to 2 of the most stressful life events he is about to undergo that he is stressed and therefore not coping as well as he has been? - buying home, mortgage and first child? That on top of a demanding job?
Could you perhaps point out that he is undergoing life stresses and it is normal to worry and struggle to cope. Even more so when he has lack of sleep and less money with a new baby. Perhaps talking with other first time dads about how they cope is an idea to suggest? Does he have family to offer help to his wife with the baby. I would personally focus on him taking practical steps to make his own life as stress free as possible.
Private counselling is an option. So is asking for NHS - but sounds like has already tried this? He could ask to be referred for assessment by a community mental health team- but this will involve having to be honest. That will then trigger risk assessments and so on - which he may not wish to have happen. They will not tell him, but rightly have to ensure safeguarding issues are covered.
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