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Depression And Employment

Question:

I know I am depressed, suicidal at times, but I am afraid to seek help because I wonder if it will jeopardize my ability to work. I am currently in school (again), but have always worked with children, first in childcare and then as a teacher. I like to be in a room full of kids because then I don’t have any time to think about myself; I find it rewarding to be able to solve their problems, even if I feel hopeless about solving my own. I am afraid that if I seek help for depression I will not be able to get work with children if I return to work, even though it has never affected my ability to teach. Can I be denied work with kids because of being treated for depression? what if I wanted to become a foster parent? Thanks.

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  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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Answer:

Frankly, if everyone who is treated for depression were prohibited from working we would have few people working, including in areas of teaching and childcare. I see no reason why treatment for depression would prohibit you from working with children. Naturally, if someone were a child molester they would not be allowed in the classroom or to be with kids. Depression is not a crime and poses no danger to anyone else. Getting help for your depression can only help and make you better able to function in your life and in your work. The same idea applies to being a foster parent.

Consequently, I want to encourage you to go and get the help you need. Most probably, the treatment you need will come in the form of anti depressant medication and psychotherapy. Both of these will help you to feel much better, reduce and eliminate the suicidal thinking, and feel much better about your self each day. The renewed energy you will gain will allow you to both feel and be more productive at school and work. Your personal life will greatly improve as well.

Please remember, I am emphasizing both medication and psychotherapy. Medication will take you a long ways but you will need the therapy to complete the journey to mental health and well being.

Good Luck

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Comments
  • Anonymous-1

    The author of the answer bypasses the fact that being diagnosed with major types of depression can affect your being employed. No matter what law is in effect if they don't want to hire you, for any reason, they can.

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