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Friday, December 3, 2021

Expert: Stress at work doubles depression risk for Qatar’s young



Stressful situations at work are putting Qatar’s young workforce at a high risk of depression, a senior psychiatrist at Hamad Medical Corporation has said.

Employees aged 20 to 34 who experience repeated work-related stress have double the risk of developing depression than those who aren’t stressed at work, according to consultant psychiatrist Dr. Suhaila Ghuloum.

Ghuloum identifies certain workplace triggers which make depression more likely: poor leadership, a hostile work environment, a poor work-life balance, lack of control and job insecurity.

A recent survey that looked into lifestyle satisfaction in the Gulf concluded that job-related issues were one of the major causes of dissatisfaction among residents in the region. 

The “Bayt.com Happiness survey” found that more than a third of respondents were unhappy with the number of hours they worked, the recognition they received and their work/life balance.

A common problem

Depression is increasingly common in Qatar, affecting both nationals and expats.

It’s estimated that about 18 percent of Qatar’s population has had depression at some point, a significantly higher tally than the US at 9 percent, and the UK at 12 percent.  

Despite the work stress emphasis, the country’s younger residents are also at risk. Earlier this year, a study found that a quarter of all teenagers in Qatar had depression. 

According to the UK’s Mental Health Foundation, symptoms of depression include a depressed mood, loss of interest, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration.

Ghuloum points out that depression affects the performance of employees, often leading to low motivation, productivity and confidence, and says that if employers take care of their employees – including offering counseling and time off work – they will reap the rewards.

Gulf Times reports:

“Effective management of workplace stress and work-related depression promotes better productivity among employees, less sick leaves and better retention of skilled employees, therefore less turnover and recruitment costs for the employer.”

She also urges employers to work to eradicate stigma surrounding mental health, such as labeling depression as “weakness, or for people who lack faith.”


Credit: Photo by Sander Van Der Wel

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