If you’re looking for jobs for people with depression, you’re far from alone. Depression is a widespread problem and a common reason for absence from work. A recent BBC news report cited an estimate that 49% of employee sick days are due to “stress, anxiety or depression.”
While researching this article, I discovered that thousands of people search for “jobs for people with depression” every single month. What’s more, the number of people typing those words into Google seems to have increased considerably in recent times (see image below).
As someone who’s experienced their fair share of mental health issues, this is a subject I can very much relate to.
This article presents some home working ideas for those afflicted with depression. There are also some strategies to help you to continue working when a spell of the illness strikes. I’ve also included some details of my own personal experiences, and linked to some sources of help and support that may be available to you.
A Quick Caution
Working from home – remotely for a company or in a freelance capacity – can sometimes make life easier for somebody with mental health issues. However, there can be downsides, including a feeling of isolation. This was was discussed in our previous article on social anxiety jobs from home, which is also a recommended read.
Potential Jobs for People with Depression
Here are some ideas of jobs you can do from home. Many give you the flexibility to work as and when you feel you can, whilst making sure you are doing everything possible to support your own wellbeing.
IMPORTANT: There’s nothing to say that suffering from depression precludes anybody from ANY particular career. Some of the world’s most successful and high-profile people, from Winston Churchill to Angelina Jolie and JK Rowling, are known depression sufferers. These are merely suggested jobs that lend themselves well to flexible working and can bend around “up days” and “down days.”
Blogging can work out very well if you have depression. Personal experience blogs about mental health are often very popular and can even evolve into books that sell well. Furthermore, blogging is something that fits well around the “down days,” as you can put plenty of work in during the good times, and ease off a little in the bad.
Running a website of one’s own is arguably one of the best careers for people with major depression. It’s a great choice for those who have lots of drive and strong entrepreneurial spirit, but would prefer not to be tied to the fixed hours and bureaucracy of a corporate career.
Plenty of companies employ home workers in clerical roles, and many outsource admin tasks to virtual assistants. Have a look at this recent article if you’d prefer to work directly for a company, or this one if setting up on your own is more appealing. It’s fair to say you will have more freedom and flexibility if you sell your services on a self-employed basis.
More locally, you can check out social media sites and noticeboards to find casual admin work for local organisations. I personally edit a local newsletter and update my locality’s social media. I can work the hours I want and take breaks when I need to.
If you are artistic this might could be for you. This article is all about how one mum turned her skills into a full-time business, and there are other similar case studies on HomeWorkingClub.
With this kind of work, you can slowly build things up until the quantity of work suits you. If you prefer you can sell online, or if you’d rather get out of the house you have the options of markets and craft fairs. You can read about my own experience of these here, along with some helpful hints.
Selling Avon – or Other “door-to-door” Products
Selling products like Avon provides an excellent opportunity to get out and meet people – even if you decide to do your sales online and just deliver to customers. This is a chance get out into the fresh air, and with the flexibility to work the hours that suit you.
Remember that a lot of your customers may also suffer from anxiety or depression, and that this may be the very reason they are using such door-to-door services in the first place. You could find that grabbing a few minutes to chat is mutually beneficial.
If you have the skills, starting a hairdressing business can be an excellent way to work from home if you don’t feel able to get out there and work in a salon.
You can work your hours around other commitments and do as much or as little as you feel able to, building up your clientele at a pace you can cope with. There is an enormous market for mobile services. If you prefer, and would feel more comfortable, you could work from a designated space in your own home.
Cleaning and Ironing
Have you considered running your own cleaning business – perhaps on a part time basis? Often when I talk to people they tell me they find it so much easier to do other people’s cleaning than their own!
Have a look on local social media or in local publications. There are almost always people looking for someone to do a few hours a week. Another thing to consider is ironing – because most people hate it!
If you are mobile, being able to offer a collect and deliver service is always a bonus. Think about original ideas that set you apart from the crowd, such as special deals for regular customers or promotions around special occasions.
Dog sitting and walking
Looking after people’s pets is a perfect way to get you out of the house and out into beneficial fresh air. Furthermore, numerous studies point to the mental health benefits of spending time with animals.
I often see opportunities for people to keep pets company or walk them for an hour or two each day, primarily while owners are on holiday or at work. These small tasks can build up into a small business that allows you the flexibility to work at your own pace, and at hours to suit you. This case study shows how a lady has done just that.
Baking and Cake Making
This is another excellent opportunity to explore if you want to make some money from home when you have depression. Everyone loves a home-baked product and if you are artistic you can even make special cakes for weddings and other occasions.
You can advertise your services locally, and if your products are good you will find you quickly build up a good reputation, with customers recommending your services to friends and family members. Check out this lady, who’s made a real success of a cupcake business.
Hopefully some of these home jobs for people with depression appeal to you. Next, let’s look at some of the practicalities around dealing with the condition.
Depression’s Effects on Daily Life
The symptoms of depression are different for everyone, as is the severity.
For me, the main thing issue has been a lack of understanding and support. Depression is often an invisible illness. I look perfectly OK, and am very experienced in putting on a brave face in front of people.
Depression doesn’t always mean suicidal thoughts and self-harm. Personally, I have found incorrect assumptions around this really hard to deal with. Depression takes many forms and mine simply isn’t like that. But I can sometimes get to the evening without really knowing what I have done all day. I literally seem to switch off. The brain fog often associated with anxiety and depression can make me forgetful, render decision-making almost impossible and make it hard to stay “on task” for long.
Headaches and fatigue are common symptoms too; I struggle a lot to keep to deadlines (although – ironically – I tend to work at my best when I am running out of time!) If you can relate to this, you’ll find some time management tips here.
Talking to People
If you are working while suffering from depression, finding someone to talk to (although this may feel like the last thing you want to do), can work as a distraction and a boost.
Try going for a short walk and saying hello to a couple of people that you pass. If you have a local shop, try to pop in every day – even if just for milk and bread. Adding routine into your day can be a real help.
I’ve started taking regular trips to the library. It’s a quiet place, and I’ve found the people I meet very friendly. I now look forward to my regular visits.
If you are not ready to step into the outside world for to meet people, consider an online group for those with similar interests. For example, I once joined an online book club.
Getting Out and Exercising
Almost every self-help book and article on mental health extols the mental health benefits of exercise. However, this advice often seems to miss the point that people struggling to get out of bed are hardly likely to consider going for a run.
That said, if you are feeling overwhelmed, just five minutes in the garden or a walk around the block can revive you and help you to relax.
If things are getting on top of you, switch the computer off for half an hour, turn off your phone and walk away. You will find it easier to come back refreshed after a break. Set yourself small goals. For example, you could aim to fill a bucket with weeds while outside. Giving yourself simple tasks to concentrate on can be of enormous benefit.
Cutting Back on Social Media
On a personal level, I have found removing myself from social media groups and forums very helpful. It is easy to become over-involved, and this can become an excuse not to do the things you really should be concentrating on.
A healthy and balanced diet is important all the time, but it’s particularly crucial when you are suffering from depression.
Cooking a decent meal each day is probably the last thing on your mind. However, time spent preparing something can help you relax and be a little more mindful. There is also the added benefit of not having to rely on snacks and junk food – which really won’t help you to recover. Try to always eat a good variety of fruits and vegetables each day, and avoid caffeine and sugary drinks as much as possible.
Decide on some simple goals and try and stick to them every day. Since the start of this year, for example, I have turned my computer off every night at 9pm. I am sure this is helping me to unwind and sleep better.
For some more on setting goals and sticking to them, this article should help.
Talking openly and sharing your worries about mental health can be a great way forward. However, for many, taking that first step can seem tremendously difficult.
In recent years, several well-known people and celebrities have openly shared their own experiences of depression, anxiety and other conditions. I think – for young people especially – that this has helped encourage openness.
However, sadly I still feel there is a long way to go before mental health issues are accepted and understood in the same way as physical problems. More needs to be done to help those with a developing issue, rather than leaving it to fester to the point of crisis.
Finding Help and Support
If you have suffered from mental health issues and have taken time out, you may worry about getting back to work. Getting a job with anxiety and depression isn’t necessarily easy. Although mental health awareness is improving, there is still a certain stigma attached. It’s almost inevitable that you’ll hear opinions from others about how they can work through it, and that “all you need is to pull yourself together!”
From your Employer
If you currently work in a business environment outside of the home, you may receive support from your employer. In the case of a large organisation, this could come from an Occupational Heath department. Sometimes a more flexible working arrangement involving some home working can present itself.
Free External Help and Resources
Have a look for your local wellbeing service. What’s on offer can vary from country to country and from area to area.
Where I live, there are a number of types of support available. However, having spoken to friends in other places, their experience has been somewhat different, so it can be a bit of a lottery. In the US, you may find a support network available through organisations such as NAMI.
My personal experience of my local wellbeing service has been something of a mixed bag. Financial constraints in different areas can mean a huge difference in what’s on offer. Cutbacks have sadly done away with some of the more helpful services that were once available. With free help, the number of sessions you are offered is usually limited. As such, it’s often the case that just as I’ve felt things are improving, the sessions have stopped.
- In the US, Mental Health America (MHA) is a good reference point for help and advice, and can point you in the direction of local services.
- In the UK, MIND, the Mental Health Charity, offers a large range of helpful guides and advice.
- There are also lots free resources on line websites such as NoMorePanic which provide excellent advice on a whole range of mental health issues.
Limitless help is of course available – if you have the cash to pay for it. Unfortunately this may not be the case if you are working limited hours in the first place. Your doctor or support worker may be able to recommend the services and practitioners most suited to you.
You will undoubtedly get more tailored help if you opt for private therapy. In free settings, the professionals are often under pressure to deliver some kind of support in a limited timeframe.
One thing worth noting is that you shouldn’t completely dismiss the prospect of private therapy if you’re on a low budget. Many mental health professionals do some of their work on a “pro bono” or discounted basis. After a few therapy sessions, you could work through a selection of jobs for people with depression with your counsellor, and see if anything in particular appeals.
There are plenty of self help options out there, including no end of well-reviewed books.
Mobile apps are also worth a look. I really didn’t think spending time on an app could help me to relax and be more focussed, but this really worked for me.
Remember that mental health issues are not a “one size fits all” condition. People are affected in a host of different ways and the strategies that work for one person may not work for someone else. It is always best to discuss the way forward with your own physician.
If you have issues with anxiety, we have a separate post on that issue, with lots more information, advice and suggestions.
Are there any other jobs for people with depression that you feel we should have included here? If so, just let us know in the comments.