Depression is one of our most significant public health challenges. And as too many readers of this blog know from first-hand experience, depression is a common result of severe bullying, mobbing, and harassment at work. Fortunately, we are gaining a stronger understanding of depression and how to treat it. Contributing to a thoughtful and provocative discussion on this important topic is Johann Hari’s Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression — and the Unexpected Solutions (2018).
Hari is an investigative journalist who has lived with depression since childhood. His own experiences caused him to dig deep into understanding depression and anxiety and how we might respond to it. In essence, he includes, but goes beyond, potential organic causes of depression and looks for possible roots in our broader society. Consequently he is helping to prompt a more expansive exploration of depression and potential healing and treatment approaches.
I’m going to borrow from the book’s table of contents to outline his proposed causes and responses to depression:
Causes of Depression and Anxiety
- “Disconnection from Meaningful Work”
- “Disconnection from Other People”
- “Disconnection from Meaningful Values”
- “Disconnection from Childhood Trauma”
- “Disconnection from Status and Respect”
- “Disconnection from the Natural World”
- “Disconnection from a Hopeful or Secure Future”
- “The Real Roles of Genes and Brain Changes”
Reconnection as a “Different Kind of Antidepressant”
- “To Other People”
- “Social Prescribing”
- “To Meaningful Work”
- “To Meaningful Values”
- “Sympathetic Joy, and Overcoming Addiction to the Self”
- “Acknowledging and Overcoming Childhood Trauma”
- “Restoring the Future”
Although I’m not a clinical psychologist, I’m confident in saying that Hari is onto something here with his research, analyses, and insights. Many of the chapter headings speak directly to the impacts of work abuse. I know that I’ll be spending more time with this book in order to build my understanding of depression and how we can respond to it.