Depression Far Too Common Among Tech Pros: Survey

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.

7 Responses to “Depression Far Too Common Among Tech Pros: Survey”

  1. I combat the blues by trying to have direct or indirect social interaction on my free time, like going to a coffee shop where there’s people, and using their wi-fi. When you consider the benefit of using their wi-fi for even things like a free-time youtube tutorial video, $2.75 for a coffee is very inexpensive. Even just being around others on free time without direct interaction makes a big difference. Man was not meant to stare at a computer 40 hours a week (-: I think the majority of tech people are introverted by birth. Introverts process things internally, and by birth, are more susceptible to being closed and more “to themselves”, because of that. I think introverts need to work even harder to overcome the blues from “processing internally”, which can include the “paralysis of self-analysis”.

    • The layoffs. The complexity. The deadlines.
      If you add commuting time, I’m sitting most of my life. Very unhealthy.
      Years of outsourcing and India had stessed the shit out of me.
      Lucky my kids are big and I dont need computer jobs much anymore. Looking forward to moving to warm weather and delivering bagels early morning 😁

  2. Having worked in the industry for several decades, I’d say the biggest reason for this is is the disconnect between our social media contacts and “life” vs reality at the workplace.

    • Layoffs. Layoffs..layoffs especially on the sales side and when there is downsizing in the economy all the time and the competition to get noticed is extreme. There is such total disconnect with your personal life with the reality of the workplace. From business development standpoint, the rejection and constant chase to find opportunity makes you wonder is it worth my time with the amount of effort needed. Its made an economic mess for me.

  3. Does this include people who have clinical depression? I notice that others are writing about workplace issues or lack of sociability causing it, but for those with clinical depression, no amount of social interaction can fix that nor can an amazing workplace. The best solution is to see a doctor, as the writer mentions at the end. Being around friends can help, but it doesn’t fix the problem unfortunately, since the pain is still there.