Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer
  • For Medicare
  • For Providers
  • For Brokers
  • For Employers
  • Search
  • For Individuals & Families:
  • For Individuals & Families:
  • Shop for Plans

    Shop for Plans

    • Plans through your employer
    • Learn about the medical, dental, pharmacy, behavioral, and voluntary benefits your employer may offer.
    • Explore coverage through work
  • Log in to myCigna
  • Log in to myCigna
  • Shop for Plans

    Shop for Plans

  • Member Guide
  • Find a Doctor
  • Home Knowledge Center Depression in the Workplace: How to Approach a Depressed Employee

    Depression in the Workplace

    Depression is a serious medical condition that affects the body, mood, and thoughts. It can impact the way one eats, sleeps, and functions. Depression is not the same as a passing blue mood. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, often involving medication and counseling, can help most people who suffer from depression. You may notice changes in an employee’s behavior, mood, or appearance.

    What You Might See in the Workplace

    • Persistent sad and empty mood
    • Communicating a sense of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, pessimism
    • Uncharacteristic drop in productivity or increase in absences
    • Signs of substance misuse
    • Fatigue; loss of interest in ordinary activities
    • Disturbances in eating patterns, which may result in noticeable weight loss or gain
    • Crying, anxiety, or panic attacks
    • Fallout from sleep problems, such as tardiness or sleepiness
    • Irritability, agitation, conflict, anger issues
    • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
    • Persistent physical symptoms or pains that do not respond to treatment
    • Veiled or direct talk of suicide

    Not all people with depression will show all symptoms or have them in the same degree. These concerns may also be indicators of issues other than depression. It’s not your job to make a diagnosis if you notice these signs. The goal is to help the person connect with an Employee Assistance program (EAP), if available through the employer, or with mental health support and services available to them.

    How You Might Approach a Person Showing Signs of Depression

    Be sensitive to the need for privacy. If you’re initiating the conversation, approach and talk in a private setting.

    Start with a focus on performance issues you’ve noticed. “I’ve noticed that you are struggling to meet the weekly quota. That’s unusual for you. I am concerned about you. Can you tell me about what’s going on?” Don’t ask about personal problems or depression directly, but listen to their concerns and be alert for these issues.

    Show compassion. Let the person know you care and that they are valued. Don’t give advice. Remember that you don’t have to “fix” them. Really listening can make a difference.

    If your company provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), tell them about the EAP and give them the number and/or a brochure. If there is a significant impact in the workplace, consider a management consultation with the EAP to further discuss options for the employee.

    If your company does not provide an EAP, you can recommend they contact their health care plan for a referral to a mental health professional or speak with their family doctor. Go to our Provider Directory for medical professionals near you.

    For additional information you can also visit:

    Mental Health First Aid

    Suicide Prevention Lifeline


  • Workplace Wellness
  • Sadness
  • This information is for educational purposes and intended to promote consumer health. It is not medical advice and is not a substitute for proper care provided by a physician. Cigna HealthcareSM assumes no responsibility for any circumstances arising out of the use, misuse, interpretation, or application of any information.

    I want to...
  • Get an ID card
  • File a claim
  • View my claims and EOBs
  • Check coverage under my plan
  • See prescription drug list
  • Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility
  • Find a form
  • Find 1095-B tax form information
  • View the Cigna Healthcare Glossary
  • Contact Cigna Healthcare
  • Audiences
  • Individuals and Families
  • Medicare
  • Employers
  • Brokers
  • Providers
  • Secure Member Sites
  • myCigna member portal
  • Health Care Provider portal
  • Cigna for Employers
  • Client Resource Portal
  • Cigna for Brokers
  • The Cigna Group Information
  • About Cigna Healthcare
  • The Cigna Group
  • Careers
  • Newsroom
  • Investors
  • Suppliers
  • Third Party Administrators
  • International
  • Evernorth Health Services
  • Cigna Healthcare. All rights reserved.
  • Privacy
  • Terms of Use
  • Legal
  • Product Disclosures
  • Company Names
  • Customer Rights
  • Accessibility
  • Non-Discrimination Notice
  • Language Assistance [PDF]
  • Report Fraud
  • Sitemap
  • Washington Consumer Health Data Privacy Notice
  • Cookie Preferences
  • Disclaimer

    Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Georgia, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of South Carolina, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of Texas, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of The Cigna Group Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT). The Cigna Healthcare name, logo, and other Cigna Healthcare marks are owned by The Cigna Group Intellectual Property, Inc.

    All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna Healthcare sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of Arizona and New Mexico.

    Selecting these links will take you away from to another website, which may be a non-Cigna Healthcare website. Cigna Healthcare may not control the content or links of non-Cigna Healthcare websites. Details