How to Support an Employee with Depression or Bipolar

June 29, 2023 Ashley Miller

You can learn how to support an employee with depression or bipolar. Employers play a big role in their employees' lives. Most people work 40-hour weeks and eight-hour days. This is a lot of time spent working, so it's important that those hours are supportive of each employee's wellbeing. I have had some bad experiences with prior workplaces and also some exceptional experiences. People with bipolar disorder or depression can be brilliant, hard-working, passionate employees, just like anyone else, and with a little extra help and accommodation, they can be very successful.

How Employers View Employees with Mental Illness Can Help Support Employees with Depression

Employers can do a few simple things to support their employees living with bipolar or depression. First, it's important how employers conceptualize and understand mental health conditions. People sometimes have more empathy when mental health conditions are viewed as medical issues, just like heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. The brain is part of the body, and the body sometimes needs help functioning at full capacity.

I went through a depressive episode a year ago, and my work sent me flowers and told me that my depression wasn't any different than other medical conditions. This kind of treatment from an employer is life-changing. I have had better-paying opportunities, but I have stayed at my job because of how they treat me, even with bipolar disorder. They know how to support their employees with depression or bipolar.

Benefits of Retaining Employees with Bipolar or Depression

Retention is a way for a company to cut costs, so if an employer treats people well, it typically makes employees want to stay.1 It costs a lot of money to continuously invest in and train new employees. Additionally, these employees sometimes become recruiters for you because they talk about how great your company is to other people and organizations.

Retention will also contribute to a healthy company culture, fostering a sense of community.1 People struggling with bipolar or depression crave a sense of purpose, and an employer has the ability to fulfill this need for them. This exchange can become a mutually beneficial relationship. Additionally, there will be fewer frustrated customers interacting with your employees because when employees are retained, they are more competent at their jobs.1 After a period of time, each employee becomes their own expert in their career. Working to retain your employees is just another way to support employees with depression or bipolar.

Tips for Supporting a Person with Bipolar or Depression

The ultimate question is: how exactly do employers retain quality employees with depression or bipolar? I will share a few tips that worked really well for me during my depressive episodes

  1. Having a flexible schedule for moments of the day that are too difficult to focus
  2. Turning my camera off in meetings when I am emotional
  3. Having dedicated self-care hours, including hours for therapy appointments and exercise
  4. Having a weekly mental health check-in with a trusted colleague or supervisor
  5. Talking with my supervisor about having purposeful tasks

I have been a dedicated employee because my company has been so good to me. They realize that I am a fantastic worker and an asset to their company. They also realize that bipolar and depression are treatable medical conditions, and with the right support, I can flourish in my career. Employers can support employees with bipolar and depression in a variety of ways. My organization would have lost me if they didn't help me through my depression. As an employer, if you can't honor mental health as part of the whole human health, you can lose amazing talent. 


  1. Paulsen, E. (2022, July 13). Why Employee Retention is Important. The QWork Future Blog. Retrieved June 28, 2023, from

APA Reference
Miller, A. (2023, June 29). How to Support an Employee with Depression or Bipolar, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Ashley Miller

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