Wednesday, March 28, 2012
10 Jobs That Can Lead to Depression
Any job can be stressful, but some carry an especially heavy toll on mental health. These 10 jobs could be a bad match for people prone to depression.
About 7 percent of American workers experience episodes of depression each year. Having the wrong job can be bad for your emotional health in general, but the wrong job can be a major contributing factor to depression. Stressful jobs, jobs with low pay, and jobs that don't get much respect from the public are among the those with the highest rates of depressed workers. And while any job can contribute depression if it is not the right job for you, the following 10 careers are particularly challenging.
Caregiving: High Depression Risk
If you take care of sick people at home or at work, you are at higher risk for depression. According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which ranked 21 occupations by rate of major depressive episodes among full-time employees aged 18 to 64, 10.8 percent of workers in personal care suffer depression — the worst of any field. Full-time caregiving is demanding and emotionally draining. If you are a caregiver at a nursing home, you’re probably not very well paid. If you are a caregiver at home, in all likelihood you’re not paid at all. Studies show that depression is the most common emotional health problem among caregivers.
Food Service: Low Pay and High Demands
Rude and demanding customers, low pay, and unsympathetic bosses are among the reasons the emotional of many food workers is in peril. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), food preparers and food servers come in second on a list of jobs with increased risk of depression. The NSDUH found that more than 10 percent of full-time workers in these careers experienced a major depressive episode.
Social Work: Tough on Emotional Health
A career in social work can be very rewarding, but it’s also very stressful. Social workers deal regularly with the emotional health of others. Working with broken families and abused children requires emotional fortitude and can be very challenging on one’s own mental health. The NSDUH report found that people who work in community and social services have major depression rates of 9.6 percent.
Healthcare: Risk of Depression and Suicide
Doctors, nurses and healthcare technicians may make relatively good salaries, but they tend to work long hours and under often stressful conditions, jeopardizing their emotional health. Medical careers may seem glamorous, especially on TV dramas, but these jobs are not for everyone. The NSDUH report found that healthcare practitioners and technicians have depression rates similar to social workers. Studies over many years have shown that suicide rates are higher among doctors than in the general population.
The Arts: Solitary and Unpredictable
It's not that being creative is bad for your emotional health — in fact the creative professions can be deeply satisfying. However, these careers often come with unpredictable income and many hours spent alone and under-appreciated, all of which can make you unhappy at work. Best-selling authors, big-name entertainers, and famous painters are actually the exceptions, not the rule. The NSDUH study grouped together careers in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media, and came up with a depression risk of 9.1 percent for these stressful jobs.
Teaching: Rewarding Yet Stressful
Teaching could be the toughest job you’ll ever love. It’s another profession that’s often listed as one of the most satisfying occupations, and yet 8.7 percent of educators reported major depression symptoms in the NSDUH study. Teachers have to deal with low starting pay, stressed parents, misbehaving kids, and demanding administrators, all of which are potential threats to emotional health.
Office Work: Unpredictable and Dull
Working in an office and collaborating with colleagues can be fun. But for many, an office job can be a dull, dead-end career that wears away at emotional health. Office politics, high demands, and lack of control are some of the reasons office jobs come in at No. 7 in the NSDUH report, with a depression risk of 8.1 percent. Recent rocky economic times have made office work even more stressful, with many office workers wondering how long they’ll still have a job, health insurance, and a future with their company.
Maintenance Worker: Hard Working Conditions
The vital workers who fix our plumbing, mow our lawns, and get our machines up and running are people we obviously can’t live without. But workers in this sector are often hired at very low wages. What’s more they often are the ones outside working in bad weather when we are inside keeping warm (or cool) and dry. Taken together, these factors could certainly have a negative impact on emotional health. And, according to the NSDUH report, risk of depression among maintenance workers is 7.3 percent — slightly higher than that of the average wage earner
Accounting, Financial Advice: Long Hours and High Stress
Accountants and financial advisors spend their careers taking care of other people's money. If you love working with numbers, this could be a good career for you. But being liable for someone else's fortune can certainly be tough on your emotional health. Studies of accountants show their emotional health is stressed by long hours, tough demands and fears of making mistakes; they report major depression symptoms at a rate of 6.7 percent.
Sales: Tough in a Down Economy
With a rate of 6.7 percent in the NSDUH study, people who work in sales rank alongside those in financial services on the depression scale. The recent economic climate could be hard on anyone's emotional health, but exceedingly so when your career depends on getting people to spend money. If you are risk-averse or not skilled at dealing with people, this career choice could be a downer for you. On the other hand, like all the careers mentioned, sales also can be a great career as long as you have the right tools and disposition.
The Happiest Professions: Architect, Engineer, Surveyor
Wondering which occupational group has the lowest percentage of depressed workers? That would be architects, engineers, and surveyors.
And on a final note, statistically speaking, when it comes to depression, anyone with a job is better off than the unemployed — among whom about 13 percent were found to be depressed