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Careers With High Rates of Depression

Rahul Pandita
According to research, depression levels in certain professions are higher than others. Take a look at these careers, and understand the factors which make them prone to depression.
The effect of workplace stress on mental health has been well-documented in numerous researches and surveys. While every job comes with some sort of stress, certain careers are particularly prone to high levels of depression. These careers demand a lot more from an individual, and can take a toll on his mental health.
The factors which may lead to, or exacerbate depression, are varied in different careers. In certain careers such as waiting on tables, a low salary, combined with a low self-esteem about the job can trigger depression. 
On the other hand, in careers such as financial accounting/investing, the enormous pressure of being responsible for someone's money can put a professional under considerable strain.
Although levels of depression are higher in unemployed people (13%) as compared to employed ones (7%), the depression rate in some careers hovers around 10%. Some of the reasons that can play a role in pushing someone towards depression are:
  • Low pay
  • Long working hours
  • Job insecurity
  • Pressure of expectations
  • No job satisfaction
  • Harassment at the workplace

Depression-Prone Careers

Social Work

The job of social workers encompasses helping people who are struggling to live a healthy life.
They identify people who are in severe need of assistance and develop plans to help them in living a normal life. They act as an emotional support for their clients by giving them a patient ear, and work towards providing them effective services.
Due to the nature of the job, they often have to deal with people in dire straits, which sometimes takes a toll on their frame of mind. Also, the weight of expectation to improve the situation of their clients puts a lot of pressure on them, which contributes to the high levels of depression prevalent in this field.

Creative Careers

A lot of research is being done to understand whether depression, or any other form of mental illness boosts creativity.
Vincent van Gogh, arguably the greatest painter of all time, cut his own ear after allegedly suffering from a bout of severe depression. Beethoven reportedly suffered from bipolar depression. Today, depression levels are high among writers, painters, and photographers.
Creative people see the world in a different light, and use it as an inspiration in their works. This ability to see through the layers of society and the world, sometimes leads to certain mood disorders, and it is common to find many artists who are suffering from depression.
Another factor which can explain the high levels of depression among creative people is the fact that they have to deal with intermittent paychecks, job insecurity, criticism, etc. Because of all these factors, depression levels among creative people are usually higher than people working in other mainstream professions.

Food Services

Individuals working as waiters, cooks, and dishwashers, are vulnerable to depression. They do a thankless job, and are often at the receiving end of their managers and customers alike.
Poor working conditions, coupled with low pay, contribute to the high rate of depression in this sector. As most of these people are at the lowest stratum of the society, the feeling of being less worthy, or unfortunate, engulfs them, leading to low self-esteem and depression.


Doctors, therapists, and nurses have to deal with ill people, and there are times when someone's life is literally in their hands. Their job demands taking care of terminally-ill patients, and children suffering from serious illnesses.
They also come in close contact with the family members of patients, and all these factors have an effect on the psyche of these professionals. Individuals working in the childcare sector are particularly prone to depression, as they have to deal with children who are often unable to express what they are going through.
Seeing toddlers and very young kids writhe in pain and discomfort can be a taxing situation for anyone, and the fact that childcare workers have to do it day in and day out, does take a toll on their mental health.

Education Sector

Although teaching is known as one of the noblest professions in the world, the stark reality is that a lot of teachers have to battle depression.
Teachers often find themselves dealing with stiff work assignments, irregular working hours, work pressure, etc., which leads to job dissatisfaction and a depressed sense of being. According to reports, there has been an attrition of 50% in the teaching sector in the last decade, as many teachers are not able to cope up with the high demands of the job.

Financial Management

Financial advisers are responsible for managing the money of their clients, and their job includes investing capital in those sectors which can offer good returns.
The fact that they have to deal with large sums of their client's money, combined with the possibility of one bad investment bringing a financial catastrophe, means that financial advisers/planners are under tremendous pressure to perform all the time, which in some cases, manifests itself in the form of depression.

Maintenance & Repairs

Maintenance workers experience difficult working conditions and low wages.
Working in irregular shifts leads to the high incidence of depression and other mood disorders among the workers in this profession. They are also one of the groups at the lowest stratum of the society, which sometimes leads to low self-esteem and depression.

Legal Services

Although lawyers, attorneys, and judges are well-paid for their work, the reason for depression among them is the high stress levels they face in their work.
They have to work under the scrutiny of the media and other law enforcement agencies, and the fact that competition is cutthroat in this field doesn't make their job any easier. Therefore, it is not surprising to find professionals from legal services to have high depression levels.


A lot of salespersons work on a commission basis, therefore, they are pushed to make all those unwanted cold calls that we all are repulsed with. Salespeople also have to bear the brunt of angry prospective clients, and this takes a toll on their mental health.
The companies that they are employed with measure their performance with the sales they have been able to generate in a given time frame, and there is enormous pressure on them to meet their targets. All these factors are responsible for the increase in the depression rate in this field.
As you can see, these careers have some common factors which make them depression-prone. Job instability, low wages, and work pressure, result in higher incidences of depression. After so many years, depression is still deemed as a taboo, and not many people are comfortable talking about it.
May be it is the fallacy that depression is a sign of weakness that prevents people from seeking help. As a society, we need to make a conducive atmosphere so that those suffering from depression can talk about it openly, and seek treatment for it.
The careers mentioned here are in no way bad or less worthy. It is just that they demand a lot, and only those who have a liking towards a particular career and are up for the challenges should go in for them. Concluding, we hope that this information helps you in getting an insight into those careers which are prone to depression.