Why Single Employees May Be at a Higher Risk for Depression

January 28, 2021 Mahevash Shaikh

Speaking from personal experience, being single isn't easy -- even when it comes to the workplace. There are several reasons for this, but today, I want to focus on how single employees might be depressed because they are overworked and undervalued. The common assumption is that if someone is single, they are far more available for work than their married and committed coworkers. They are supposed to work longer hours by default, and work is often unceremoniously dumped on them without their consent. Over time, chronic overworking leads to mental health issues like burnout and depression, especially if an individual is underpaid and undervalued.

Depression Is Caused When Singles Are Singled Out at Work

Being single means you are singled out for overwork, and that can cause depression. This is not an exaggeration; this is the cold, hard truth. Irrespective of your relationship status, I'm sure you can think of at least one single person in your life who had to:

  • Cover for married employees one time too many by helping them with work -- without getting the same favor in return
  • Work overtime and on weekends as their boss needed to spend time with her kids, again
  • Work harder than others because if the single person didn't have a partner or kid(s), the least they could do is focus on their career, and so on. 

Of course, it's normal for people working together to help each other, but when only one party is the helper instead of the one being helped, this is a problem. In this case, it's single people who are expected to be available on-demand because they don't have a life outside of work. If they did have a life, they wouldn't be single in the first place. This school of thought is not only untrue, but it's also discriminatory.

Set Boundaries to Avoid Unfair Treatment

Single people have just as much a right to downtime as people with partners and kids. What's more, if a single person doesn't speak out about this discrimination, they will continue to be taken for granted and burdened with more work than they can handle. Overwork will inevitably lead to burnout and/or depression, which is why singles need to learn how to set boundaries at work. One of the most effective boundaries is saying no when you want to say no -- and in a clear, firm yet polite manner so that no one can take advantage of you. Check out the video below to know more.

Have you been treated differently at work as a result of your relationship status? Please let me know in the comments section below. 

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2021, January 28). Why Single Employees May Be at a Higher Risk for Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 30 from

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

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