Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Some Remedies to Boost the Esteem of the Downsized

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Some Remedies to Boost the Esteem of the Downsized

Article excerpt

Workers who become depressed over being laid off these days have one big advantage over previous generations: most aren't ashamed to admit it and will seek help on their own.

Those booted from their jobs over the last five years don't have to pick up Webster's to know if they suffer from depression, "a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, and feelings of dejection."

Symptoms can also include insomnia, a waning of sexual interest, lack of appetite, lowered self-esteem, fatigue, and mood swings.

"Twenty-five years ago there was such fear of what would happen to them (executives) in their careers that they would rather be dysfunctional (than seek treatment)," said psychiatrist Frederic Flach of New York. "But now there is a definite difference in attitude, a willingness of people to do something about themselves."

Downsized victims are not only "very depressed and very anxious about their future," said University of South Carolina management authority Daniel Feldman, "they feel embarrassed, although they shouldn't. They sometimes feel awkward."

Flach said that in his practice he is seeing more layoff victims suffering from depression. Much of the $43-billion estimated annual bill from depression in America is thought to be workplace-related.

Severed employees, Flach pointed out, often have more than one reason to feel depressed. Some go bankrupt. Some are forced to sell their homes. Some lose social face.

There are several schools of thought about how to combat layoff-related depression, including whether to try to beat it by rushing out to find a new job. Feldman thinks it is not wise to go job-hunting the first few weeks after a layoff.

"People are panicked, they are anxious, and they don't make the best impressions," he said.

Instead of searching for a job immediately, the downsized worker should do an "unemotional, realistic" talent evaluation, the better to choose a plan of action, Feldman said. …

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