Depression is nothing to laugh about, regardless of how many Reddit memes about it try to ease us past the sadness. A new study shows that, in tech, over one-third of professionals admit they have issues with depression.
Specifically, 38.8 percent of tech pros responding to a Blind survey say they’re depressed. When you tie employers into this, the main offenders are Amazon and Microsoft, where 43.4 percent and 41.58 percent (respectively) of employees say they’re depressed. Intel rounds out the top three with 38.86 percent of its respondents reporting issues with depression.
We’ll point out the top three companies may not be entirely to blame for the depression concerns of tech pros. All three have large footprints in the Pacific Northwest, where the shorter daylight of Fall and Winter contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. This narrow window of daylight, along with routine overcast or rainy conditions, can throw off a body’s circadian rhythm. Seattle psychiatrist David Avery tells The Seattle Times that less daylight can also affect the brain’s hypothalamus, which directs the body’s release of hormones such as melatonin and cortisol. (It’s worth noting Blind didn’t identify any geographical data about respondents to its depression survey.)
There are similarities between this depression survey and other Blind studies. Over one-third of tech pros report being depressed; over half say their workplace is unhealthy; nearly 60 percent report burnout. An anonymous Dice survey shows most tech pros are dissatisfied with their job enough to consider seeking new employment elsewhere. In other words, across the industry, there’s a strong sense of dissatisfaction amongst tech pros.
At least when it comes to users, tech companies seem to realize their products have an impact on mental health. At WWDC 2018, Apple introduced App Limits, a method to reduce how often you use your phone, particularly the apps on it; it seems to focus in particular on social media, which has been proven many times to directly link to depression.
The upside to this survey is that most tech pros aren’t reporting depression issues. While that’s wonderful, we can’t overlook the nearly 40 percent of tech pros who admit feeling depressed. If you feel similarly, please reach out to a mental health professional for guidance and best practices to deal with your depression the right way.