Half of psychologists say they suffer from depression
May 25, 2023
The data published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in October 2015 show worrying figures, since It is estimated that depression affects an estimated 350 million individuals worldwide.. Experts have been warning for some time that the depression has become the most common disease of the 21st century, along with the stress and the anxiety.
This pathology manifests itself with frequent mood swings and serious emotional problems that affect daily life. It is a serious problem that millions of people have to face, because it affects work, family, has a negative effect on interpersonal relationships and, in the worst case, can lead to suicide.
Psychologists, the most depressed professionals?
Stress or burnout at work is often talked about, but depression is also a serious problem in the work environment. In this context, in addition to great discomfort and suffering, depression causes a drop in performance, accidents, as well as continuous changes in personnel. Some investigations estimate that between 15% and 30% of professionals will suffer from some type of mental health problem during their working lives
A study coordinated by Dr. Marta Torres that was carried out in a health center in Lleida (Spain), analyzed 275 processes of sick leave caused by mental health problems during a year. The analysis of the data provided interesting information, stating that depression was the cause of 68 percent of the total cases analyzed. Therefore, it is the most frequent cause of sick leave, followed by anxiety (12%), mixed anxious-depressive disorders (9%), affective disorder (2%) and other associated personality disorders such as substance abuse toxic. According to this study, 55 percent of patients with depression are over 40 years of age, the majority of cases being women.
The economic crisis has worsened the situation
Health professionals are the sector that has suffered the most from this disorder, and recent research conducted in the United States concludes that doctors and dentists are the groups with the highest rate of depression and suicide. But in Spain, the situation is not more hopeful. The economic crisis in which the country is immersed has worsened in recent years and working conditions have changed for many employees.
The cuts by the government, the null expectations of improvement, the low wages and the stress resulting from the excessive workload and little recognition for the work carried out by these professionals, among others factors, contribute to fueling a situation that for many has become desperate.
The psychologist Arturo Torres, a regular contributor to the magazine Psychology and Mind, he explains: “Depression is a serious and real problem that affects different areas of a person's life. It has an impact on job performance, but working conditions also affect the person and can cause emotionally problematic situations, as well as depression. This is a particularly delicate issue for many young people, who view the future with pessimism”. In addition, Torres maintains that: "Work is one of the keys to the well-being of an individual, and before low expectations of improvement, many young people decide to try their luck abroad, leaving everything behind. They even go to Latin America, something unthinkable a few years ago”.
Psychologists also suffer from depression at work
Because of the crisis, we have seen many groups take to the streets in search of labor and social improvements. Like nurses, teachers, lawyers, etc. But one of the groups that we have not seen manifest and that is hardly talked about are psychologists. Psychologists have not suffered the crisis? According to psychologist Arturo Torres, psychologists find themselves in a dramatic situation. “In Spain, they have serious difficulties finding employment, they can't even find precarious work and that is alarming. The vast majority of colleagues in my profession are either unemployed or work in other trades such as the hotel industry" affirms Torres, who concludes that "psychologists have no expectations for the future in this country".
But then, do psychologists also suffer from depression? That's how it is. A study published in the United Kingdom ensures that almost half of psychologists (46%) suffer from this pathology. The survey was conducted by the British Psychological Society, and collects 1,300 testimonials in which the majority of psychologists state that they feel burnout, low morale and high stress levels. It seems unbelievable that the professionals in charge of treating depression are just as depressed as the patients.
Do psychologists suffer stress and burnout?
In addition to the 46% of psychologists who claim to be depressed, 49.5% feel like a failure and 70% find their job stressful. These results were presented at the conference Psychological Therapies in the NHS which was carried out in London, and the data showed an increase of 12% in the stress of psychology professionals with respect to the previous year, that is, 2014. On the other hand, cases of bullying had doubled from one year to the next.
Professor Jamie Hacker Hughesm, President of the British Psychological Society says: “Health and well-being at work are of vital importance and we should be aware of it. I have worked and directed the NHS (UK Health Service) services and have been able to see with my own eyes the effect of stress, work overload, incorrect supervision and burnout”
Following these findings, the UK's leading mental health organizations have pledged to support a cooperative effort to improve the well-being and resilience of psychologists who provide a key service for the society. In collaboration with the New Savoy Partnership and the public health england, the British Psychological Society has made a Letter for the Well-being and Resilience of Psychology staff (Charter for Psychological Staff Wellbeing and Resilience).
Psychologists are people too
After the results of the study carried out in the United Kingdom, It will be necessary to know if the same is happening in Spain and, on the other hand, if the same is happening in other areas of psychology, not just clinical. There are many branches of psychology, such as organizational psychology or social psychology, in which psychologists also do a great job.
What is important to understand after this survey is that psychologists are people too. They suffer, cry, get stressed and go through difficult stages in their lives. Psychologists do not live on another planet, but are also affected by the environment and by the reality that surrounds us. In fact, it is an essential requirement for a clinical psychologist to be as objective as possible in her work, and that, on many occasions, requires going through a consultation to find the right emotional balance. Does it sound weird that a psychologist goes to another psychologist? Well, it shouldn't be.