Consultants and Depression What You Need to Know



Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States, with one in seven people experiencing some form of depression. When you factor in the physical and emotional stress of being a consultant, it’s unsurprising that consultants as a population are particularly susceptible to depression. It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of depression, how to manage it, and what help is available.

Depression affects everyone differently but common symptoms include:

  • Persistent low moods or sadness;
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities;
  • Changes in weight or appetite (decreased or increased);
  • Changes in sleep (sleeping more than usual or less than usual);
  • Fatigue;
  • Difficulty concentrating;
  • Headaches or pains without an identifiable cause;
  • Restlessness;
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness;
  • Difficulty making decisions or thinking clearly;
  • Suicidal thoughts.

If you think you may be suffering from depression, it is important to seek help immediately.

There are many ways to treat Depression – from talking therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and counselling, sleeping aids and physical activity through to medication – but each individual’s journey will be unique. It can be difficult for consultants who work on their own away from an office environment – where they could otherwise benefit from an employee assistance program – to access support services when they need them most. Luckily there are now a number of online resources available which allow us to access support remotely wherever we may be located.

It’s not just those suffering with depression who benefit from this awareness: knowing about the causes and effects of depression enables colleagues, friends and family members to better understand what those battling with this illness may going through – enabling them provide emotional support should it be needed. Consultants should never feel like they have to suffer alone – if you think yourself or someone that you know might need help understanding depression then please look at our further research resources below for some great advice on getting started all your mental health journey.

Causes of Depression in Consultants

Depression is a common issue among consultants and freelancers, due to the stress of their jobs and the lack of a secure paycheck. There are a number of factors that can contribute to depression in consultants such as the pressure to succeed, the fear of failure, and the lack of job security.

This heading will focus on discussing some of the key causes of depression in consultants:

Stressful Working Conditions

Consultants are often subject to high levels of stress due to their unique job requirements. This can include long hours, difficult clients, tight deadlines, working on unfamiliar projects and being away from home and family for extended periods of time. This type of stress is magnified by the fact that many consultants are considered independent contractors and don’t have the same benefits or job security provided by a traditional employer. The result is often anxiety, depression, insomnia and difficulty concentrating – all risk factors for developing depression in those who work as a consultant.

Some common causes of stress among consultants are:

  • Uncertainty about the future: Consistent jobs and ongoing projects can be hard to come by, leaving many consultants feeling uncertain about their future or their ability to support themselves financially.
  • Lack of job security: Consultants can be dismissed at any moment without warning; clients may move on or decide that they no longer need a consultant’s services without much notice given.
  • Spending long hours working: Most consultants must work long hours in order to meet the demands of their jobs; this includes late nights, weekends and holidays when needed.
  • Working with difficult clients: Consultants often have to deal with challenging situations such as demanding customers or poorly defined project requirements which put them under additional pressure and add more stress.
  • Managing expectations: Working as a consultant requires continuously managing expectations in order to meet tight deadlines and limited budgets while delivering high quality work – this requires cultivating specific skills such as understanding customer needs or negotiating terms with vendors which can be challenging to keep up with while on the go between projects.

Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem is becoming a more and more common cause of depression in consultants. Many people with consulting jobs find themselves struggling with difficult tasks, long hours, and the constant fear of failure. This fear can lead to feelings of inadequacy which can affect one’s self-esteem over time.

Consultants often feel like they are never good enough, constantly comparing themselves to their peers and trying to measure up. This sense of insecurity can lead to feelings of pessimism, depression, and hopelessness. In addition, when the pressure to perform is always there it can become overwhelming leading a person down a path of avoidance or procrastination while further affecting their self-esteem.

Another factor attributing to depressed feelings in consultants is the issue of identity. When our job becomes so consuming that it overtakes other aspects of our life (such as friends or family) we may start feeling unfulfilled and empty inside because our sources for happiness have been reduced drastically. This disconnection from life often leads to deep depressions that are hard to escape from without help from trusted friends, family members or a mental health practitioner.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression often associated with working as a consultant – such as low self-esteem, an inability to cope with pressure, or a disconnection from your daily life – it’s important that you take steps towards negotiating your feelings towards these issues and seeking help when needed.


For many consultants, the feeling of isolation is a very real thing when it comes to their work. This can be caused by a number of factors. It could be because they are often working remotely and not in an office setting, or because they may not have enough contact with other people on a personal level since their jobs tend to require a lot of travel and scheduling conflicts.

They may also find themselves feeling like an outsider or on the periphery of their industry, left out of social gatherings or events where long-time colleagues know each other well. Many feel that in order to maintain conversations about work-related topics, one has to constantly stay abreast of developments and updates that can be difficult for some to keep up with if taking intercity conferences or client meetings.

In addition, consultants often lack the support network available to those who stick around one place for six months or more: When you move around regularly, it’s hard to cultivate close relationships when time is limited and budgets are tight. The stressors that come with the lifestyle can lead to depression over time—which can set off a cycle wherein negative thoughts prevent people from seeking help and actively managing their mental health in functional ways.

Signs of Depression

Depression is a common problem that affects many people, including consultants. It’s important to recognize the signs of depression and seek help promptly.

Some common signs of depression include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that once brought joy
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Feelings of worthlessness

Knowing these signs and symptoms can help you identify depression and get the help you need.

Changes in Mood

One of the common signs of depression is a change in mood. People who are depressed may appear sad or irritable for long periods, feel joyless or disconnected from social events, and find themselves unable to shake off general feelings of sadness. In some cases, family members or close friends may be the first to notice changes in attitude or behavior.

Along with these signs, people with depression may also suffer from:

  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • In extreme cases, suicidal thoughts

Depression can affect people differently and symptoms can range in severity. It is important to recognize that regardless of their intensity, these changes should not be ignored – they can be symptoms of depression and require medical intervention. If you notice any unexplained behavioral changes in someone you know that cannot seem to shake gratuitously negative thoughts or emotions, then it could be important to refer them for professional help right away.

Loss of Interest

Loss of interest or pleasure in life is one of the hallmark signs of a depressive disorder. People who are depressed may take little, if any, joy in activities they once enjoyed, such as hobbies or spending time with friends and family. They may become unmotivated to participate in activities and you might notice that they mostly keep to themselves or feel exhausted by social interactions.

In more severe cases of depression, some individuals may be unable to do even basic tasks, such as taking care of their physical appearance or culinary habits; unkempt hair and clothing can be a possible sign. The person may also talk about feeling worthless and filled with guilt for how their feelings have affected those around them. And this lack of motivation can extend beyond external activities also: some sufferers might not even engage in inner conversation or exploration anymore since they are depleted of inspiration.

Other possible signs that an individual has lost their enthusiasm for life include:

  • Decreased productivity at work due to disinterest.
  • Difficulty waking up.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Becoming unusually pessimistic.
  • Spending long periods alone.
  • Apathy towards former ambitions and goals.
  • Talking about the meaninglessness of life actions.
  • Difficulty conveying emotion or finding topics to talk about – especially when it comes to interests that used to bring them joy.

All these are symptoms which warrant a medical professional’s help since bearing any depression alone can lead to worsening symptoms over time.

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms can indicate the presence of depression and are often overlooked. Common physical symptoms of depression may include increased or decreased appetite, sleeping too little or sleeping too much, fatigue, chronic pain, weight changes and slowed motor activity. Physical pains such as headaches, digestive issues, cramps and joint and muscle aches may also be signs of depression. If you find that you are experiencing any of these physical symptoms for an extended period of time without relief from lifestyle changes or medical treatments, it can be a sign that something more serious is going on with your mental health.

It’s important to practice self-care when dealing with any type of mental illness and seek medical consultation if necessary. Depression is a serious condition that can affect how you think and feel. It is not something to be taken lightly; if left untreated it can worsen over time and lead to potentially dangerous consequences.

In addition to the physical symptoms described above, some other signs of depression may include:

  • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor memory
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Isolation from friends or family members
  • Withdrawal behaviors such as excessive use of alcohol or drugs
  • Self-loathing thoughts
  • Persistent feelings of sadness or guilt
  • Inability to make decisions easily
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideation

If you have experienced any combination of these warning signs for an extended period it is important to consult with a health professional right away to get proper treatment for your condition.

Treatment Options

Treatment for depression can vary greatly depending on the person’s individual needs and preferences. It’s important to speak to a counselor or mental health professional in order to determine the best form of treatment for you.

In this section, we will discuss some of the treatment options available for consultants and those struggling with depression:


When you visit a mental health professional for depression, medication may be an option. Medication can improve depressive symptoms over time and provide relief from the intense emotional pain associated with depression. Medication should be used in combination with other treatment approaches such as cognitive behavior therapy or interpersonal psychotherapy.

Your mental health professional will work with you to determine the best type of medication based on your symptoms and medical history. Some of the most commonly prescribed medications for depression include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): These medications work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which helps to regulate mood and behavior. Common SSRIs include Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa and Lexapro.
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): These medications work like SSRIs but also affect norepinephrine levels in the brain. Common SNRIs are Cymbalta and Effexor XR.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants: These drugs have been used for many years to treat depression but are generally less popular due to their side effects profiles being more intense than those of some newer medications. Examples include Elavil, Pamelor and Aventyl.
  • Atypical antidepressants: This type of drug works differently than SSRIs or SNRIs but still tries to modify serotonin levels in the brain by targeting different pathways that regulate mood and behavior changes caused by depression. Wellbutrin is an example of an atypical antidepressant medication commonly prescribed for people suffering from depression.

Your mental health professional will assess your specific needs to determine which type of antidepressant is best for you based on effectiveness, side effects profile, drug interactions and cost. In some cases, a combination of different types of antidepressant medications may be necessary to achieve desired results in your treatment plan so that you can successfully manage episodes of depression over time or live a more balanced life overall as a person living with depression.


When it comes to treating depression, therapy is a promising option that can support individuals in various ways. There are many different types of therapy available and they all approach the issue in a slightly different manner.

One of the most popular treatments for depression is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It is often used to identify and change patterns of thinking or behavior that may be contributing to feelings of depression. This type of therapy focuses on problem-solving skills and encourages individuals to challenge negative thoughts or beliefs about themselves while expressing more positive and productive views.

Another popular form of therapy used in the treatment of depression is Interpersonal Therapy (IPT). This type of therapy primarily teaches people how their interactions with other people can affect their mental health. It explores interpersonal relationships, such as past or current social issues with friends, co-workers, family members, etc., as well as identifying patterns of behavior that may be contributing to low moods and depressive symptoms.

Psychiatrists may also prescribe medications alongside therapy in order to improve overall mental health within an individual’s daily life. While antidepressants are intended to help balance neurotransmitters within the brain which can positively influence moods, there may be unwanted side effects associated with these treatments which should always be discussed prior to beginning a medication treatment plan. Common antidepressant medications include

  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)


Self-care is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce symptoms of depression. Research has found that self-care can help beat depression, even when it is more severe or persistent. Depression makes it hard to motivate yourself to do anything, so making small steps to practice self-care may be necessary at first.

Some examples of self-care that may help with depression include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Eating healthy meals
  • Practicing relaxation techniques (such as yoga or mindfulness)
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Keeping up with social connections

It’s also important to keep up with social connections, as isolation has been linked to poor mental health outcomes. Consider joining a support group or schedule regular check-ins with friends and family.

In some cases, anti-depressants or psychotherapy may offer further relief for very severe forms of depression beyond what self-care can achieve. However, self-care is an essential part of any treatment plan and should always be implemented alongside more intensive treatments such as those mentioned above. Talk to your consultant about what self care methods are appropriate for your individual circumstances and needs.

Prevention Strategies

Depression can be a serious issue for consultants, as the pressures of the job can leave them feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and without a sense of purpose. While preventing and managing depression can be difficult, there are steps consultants can take to reduce their risk of developing the condition.

In this section, we will discuss some important prevention strategies to consider:

Establish Boundaries

For consultants experiencing depression, it is important to become a master of self-care and practice establishing firm professional boundaries. Understanding time management, yourself, and setting realistic expectations in your work environment contributes to successful career growth.

When starting to adhere to boundaries, you need to determine which boundaries are required for both personal and work life. By setting realistic limits at work, such as taking specific breaks from tasks and completing daily assignments on time, you will be better equipped in managing stressors related to the job. Employers may be willing and open for a conversation regarding feasible expectations within the workplace.

Furthermore, it is essential that consultants create their own boundary lines between family life and work life so not to become overwhelmed throughout the day. Scheduling an ample amount of “me” time throughout the day enables a sense of balance within personal lives which can improve quality of delivery at work.

Finally, when challenges arise it is important that consultants demonstrate assertiveness with clients or coworkers during disagreements or issues outside the team’s control. Consulting sessions may be more productive if clear structure is communicated early on in order to minimize any misunderstanding between parties. Clients should also be informed early of possible limitations that may come up during projects or consulting sessions such as delivery delays due unforeseen challenges or distractions from overlooked details.

Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

It is essential that consultants aim to achieve a healthy work-life balance, in order to remain physically and mentally resilient and adaptive. Working long hours or restricting breaks can not only be discouraging, but can also lead to exhaustion and long-term health problems. In order to keep up with the demands of consulting, whilst simultaneously avoiding burnout and depression, it is important to establish scheduled time off and routine activities that are enjoyable. When consulted, experts universally recommend an ideal balance of three components: leisure (‘fun activities’), physical activity (‘exercise’), and learn/growth (‘enriching activities’).

Striking a healthy work-life balance is easier said than done. Many people understandably feel as though taking time away from their consulting project will make them more disorganized or cause it to take longer overall – in actuality, taking this break will help them develop clarity towards their current tasks as well as help preserve motivation throughout the project. An even better approach would be transitioning from work after meeting specific goals or milestones. Doing so allows for a sense of happiness stemming from accomplishment – instead of guilt from returning back to the demands placed by consulting clients.

There are several measures that consultants can do in order for prevent burnout:

  • Setting realistic goals for themselves on a daily basis.
  • Ensuring quality rest through proper rest/sleep schedule.
  • Engaging with meaningful relationships.
  • Networking with other professionals for moral support.
  • Staying informed about relevant news related to their industry/field.
  • Maintaining deliberately healthy practices such as nutrition/diet.
  • Unplugging from technology every once in awhile when possible.
  • Engaging with fun activities outside of work such as music or arts – all while establishing boundaries between ‘work time’ & ‘personal time’.

Build a Support Network

Building a strong and supportive social network is one of the most important steps you can take to ease depression. It’s essential to have someone you can talk to and get emotional help in times of distress. Friends and family members can provide unconditional support, offer comfort and make helpful suggestions when you’ve hit a low point.

As well as those close to you, it’s important that your support network includes counselors, therapists or psychologists who understand the complexities of depression. This could be part of an informal group that offers encouragement and advice, or it could include professional services that offer a structured listening environment with practical guidance. If there are other professionals in your life – for example, physicians or financial advisors – they can also play an integral role in providing emotional support during difficult moments.

Finally, joining online forums or peer-support groups is often recommended for those suffering from depression as it provides the opportunity for people to connect with others going through similar experiences. Online forums provide confidential help at any time with access to a variety of topics such as culture, relationships, career advice and much more.


In conclusion, it is important to recognize the signs of depression and anxiety in consultants due to their unique working environment. Consulting can be an incredibly rewarding profession but can also be very stressful with unique pressures on individuals’ mental health. By taking proactive steps to manage mental health and highlight the need for a balanced lifestyle, consultants can take control of their own wellbeing and bear in mind the warning signs of depression.

It is important to remember that if you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed by work or any other pressure, there are resources available to help. If you need assistance or are worried about depression, be sure to talk to your colleagues, your support network and any professionals that may be provided as part of your benefit’s package. There are also many support groups available online and within communities which can offer helpful advice on managing symptoms of depression or anxiety. Additionally, speaking with a professional therapist can help develop strategies for improving work environments before emotions become too overwhelming.