Psychologist Questions Psychiatrist

Can social workers suffer from depression?

I am a 28-year-old female who works in the field of social work. I find myself coming home and feeling quite depressed, even though I love my job. Is that normal? Can social workers suffer from depression?

10 Answers

Most definitely. Those of us in the helping professions are just as susceptible to mood disorders as anyone else. If you think your mood struggles have to do directly with your job, you may want to talk to a safe professional peer or mentor, maybe take a seminar about burnout or professional self-care, and/or get your own counselor/psychotherapist. I always got back into therapy during major life transitions or just when I think I need it again!
We can love our work and still become "blue" or even depressed while engaged in it. Therapy is very hard to provide and requires a great deal of attention, constant studies, supervision, etc. Also, depending on the population you're working with, you may be suffering from what is clinically called "vicarious trauma", taking on the symptoms of your clients/patients.

A good supervisor and/or peer group can be very helpful with this. It is quite normal....and support is a needed ingredient in maintaining your own good spirits.
Definitely, Social Workers experience high levels of depression because of the nature of the work. There is a very high burnout rate. The average life of Social Worker is 5 years. It is imperative, to have a long career that you practice self care such finding ways to disengage from the work, giving yourself time to decompress after work, engaging in fun activities whenever possible and by all means, get yourself a therapist. There are therapist that specialize in seeing only therapist.
Absolutely. Anyone can suffer from depression, especially ones who work in the mental health field. This is why it is crucial that you have a strict self care regime and are seeing a therapist for yourself.
Absolutely they can. This is why we have supervision and continue with our own therapy. It is important to remember we are empaths and take on other people’s problems. Take care of yourself and self care should be a priority.
Absolutely, Social workers, MD’s, PhD’s and anyone who works in the mental health field can suffer from depression. Our work is stressful, any of us can before depressed, burned out, or suffering from “Secondary Trauma”. Be sure to take enough time for self care and relationships. Also, talk to someone rather than isolating yourself, so you can process what you are feeling.

Nancy J Warren, PhD
Hi! Anyone can experience symptoms. Because of what you do in the professional setting, you might have more stress that can also contribute to depression. You may want to have a counselor you can check in with as needed.
Of course. Anyone can suffer from depression. It depends upon the precipitating influences.
Yes absolutely. Mental health workers have some of the highest burn out and that includes rates of depression, substance abuse, and anxiety. Self-care is crucial. It used to be done that social workers and psychologists were required to be in therapy as part of their training, and although that cannot be mandated by programs, I believe it’s a good thing to be in treatment at various stages of our own professional and personal lives.
This link should be helpful in addressing your question:

Often, MH professionals do not know how to maintain detached concern and get too involved emotionally or get caught in the syndrome of burnout.