Depression and its effects on mental health

Depression is a serious mental health condition that can have a profound impact on an individual’s well-being, affecting their mood, thoughts, and behaviour. It is characterised by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable.

Identifying depression

It can be normal for people to go through periods of feeling down for just a few days, but when these feelings are persistent for weeks or months, it is a clear sign of depression.

Symptoms of depression may include lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, losing interest in things you enjoy, feeling tearful, and symptoms of anxiety.

Physical symptoms do also exist in depression and can include constant tiredness, poor sleep, no appetite, and various aches and pains.

Depression in ports

For port workers in the UK, the nature of their work can contribute to the development or exacerbation of depression. Port workers often face long hours, irregular shifts, and high levels of stress and pressure. The physical demands of the job, such as heavy lifting and exposure to harsh weather conditions, can also take a toll on their mental health.

Potential triggers of work-related depression:

  • High workload.
  • Being asked to do things outside competency level.
  • Sudden changes.
  • Difficulties with colleagues.
  • Inflexible work hours.
  • Poor management / communication.
  • Unclear objectives.
  • Lack of support.
  • Lack of socialising.

The effects of depression on port workers can be significant. It can lead to decreased productivity, absenteeism, and difficulty in maintaining relationships with colleagues and loved ones. Depression can also increase the risk of substance abuse and other harmful coping mechanisms.

It is important for employers in the UK port industry to prioritise the mental health and well-being of their workers. Providing access to mental health resources, such as counselling services and employee assistance programs, can help support port workers who may be struggling with depression. Additionally, promoting a culture of open communication and destigmatising mental health issues can encourage port workers to seek help when needed.

Coping with depression

If you are suffering from depression, there are many coping strategies you can follow:

  • Socialise – socialising can improve your mood; being surrounded by the people you care for can go a long way in making you feel happier.
  • Be active – working out or taking up any form of exercise is proven to help with mental and physical health being closely linked.
  • Face your fears – overcoming things that scare you or make you anxious are great ways to boost your self-esteem.
  • Cut down on alcohol – drinking may seem like it helps to hide your emotions, however, it can actually make you feel more depressed.
  • A healthy diet – depression can cause you to gain / lose weight depending on how it affects you, some find comfort in food and gain weight, other may lose their appetite and lose weight. It is important to continue to eat healthily when suffering from depression to avoid these.
  • Routines – depression can cause you to fall into poor sleep patterns, which can in turn affect you physical and mental health in different ways. Building a good routine is an effective way to combat this as your body will learn to adapt to it. A routine can also help with following the above strategies.

Helping someone with depression

Helping someone who is suffering from depression can be a challenging task, so we wanted to share some tips:

  • Let them know you care.
  • Accept them as who they are, without judgement.
  • Encourage them to help themselves, for example by staying physically active.
  • Stay in touch with them often.
  • By patient.
  • Provide them with information about services which can help them such as support groups.

Urgent help

In the event that the person expresses they are having suicidal feelings, you should immediately contact the NHS at 111 or their GP. Alternatively, you can contact the Samaritans, who are available to provide confidential 24-hour support.

If you believe they are at a serious risk of taking their own life, you should:

  • Remove anything they may harm themselves with.
  • Stay with them.
  • Seek emergency help by calling 999.

Depression can have a profound impact on the mental health of port workers in the UK. By raising awareness of the issue, providing support and resources, and fostering a supportive work environment, employers can help mitigate the effects of depression and promote the well-being of their employees.

Help is available in many forms, click below for videos and weblinks that may be of use, or see our resource page for more info.

This video may help you better understand the manner in which depression can affect individuals.