Do/should we have a standard way of responding to major life issues surrounding health, specifically stress and depression?

I'm thinking specifically of https://workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/57420/stress-and-depression-in-the-workplace -- this question is rightly closed and labeled as too broad, but the response does little for the OP, who may be struggling to even ask a clear question at this point.

I realize this is not a self-help forum, but is there a canonical response here or elsewhere that might point a person in the right direction (which is likely not here)?

I'm trying to see this from a depressed person's point-of-view, where that person's concern is immediately put on hold, and could serve to reinforce a negative state of mind.

  • 1
    Just as we do with legal questions, we should close questions which need medical answers. We do see to get lots of both kinds of questions. Perhaps folks should be referred to health.stackexchange.com ? Or perhaps the question should even be moved there? Nov 10, 2015 at 0:15
  • @JoeStrazzere I like the idea of moving them to Heath.SE, that may provide the immediate input that person needs. I assume the question would still need to be edited to be on-topic there?
    – mcknz
    Nov 10, 2015 at 0:25
  • Agreed on the general idea of migration, but don't migrate crap. Nov 10, 2015 at 9:39
  • 1
    @PhilipKendall - it's an interesting rule. Who is better to judge what is considered "crap" in a question about health - The WorkPlace, or Health? Nov 10, 2015 at 17:07
  • @PhilipKendall right, would assume that the "question" would need to be edited to be an actual question. Calling the question crap is fine for technical questions, but quite different for ones with an emotional edge.
    – mcknz
    Nov 10, 2015 at 17:13
  • @JoeStrazzere Is there a way to migrate after the question is closed?
    – mcknz
    Nov 10, 2015 at 17:18
  • @mcknz - sorry, no idea. I've never migrated anything. Nov 10, 2015 at 17:51
  • @JoeStrazzere thanks, looks like you can select a different site when you close as off topic. For this specific question, given the current quality, it's probably best left as is.
    – mcknz
    Nov 10, 2015 at 18:27
  • 3
  • Can people with depression hold down a job? Not something I'm familiar with, but hear about depression a bit while surfing. And why would someone with such a severe problem post a question in a group like this? Sorry, probably shouldn't ask so many questions but can't understand the motivation.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Nov 12, 2015 at 8:15
  • 2
    @kilisi it depends on how severe it is, how persistent, and how it manifests. It's like asking whether someone with broken bones can work -- depends on whether it's a nicely splinted broken leg, or if the person is in traction in the ICU, (and also on what work they are trying to do). It's a sliding scale of impact, not a binary. Nov 12, 2015 at 10:35
  • 1
    On Health SE, a lot of questions get downvoted, and personal medical advice amongst many other things is not welcome. Nov 16, 2015 at 20:38

2 Answers 2


Small aside: the "question" is on hold due to not actually being a question - nothing's actually being asked, it's just a statement of facts - rather than being too broad.

That said, I think the correct response is pretty much what you and Hazel posted in comments: get some professional help, whether that be from company resources, a medical professional or somewhere else. As you say, these are major life issues and not something that the SE community is going to be able to fix.

  • agreed -- it's not really a question as originally presented.
    – mcknz
    Nov 9, 2015 at 22:57

Do/should we have a standard way of responding to major life issues surrounding health, specifically stress and depression?

I believe we do. If such a question doesn't meet the criteria for the standard off-topic close vote reasons (company-specific / legal, rant / not a question, advice), flag or vote with a custom reason instead. You'll be forced to argue your close vote where you can just explain what you mentioned in the OP.

Consider a variation on this template:

Welcome to the site [Username]. Unfortunately this site only aims to address issues specific to navigating a workplace environment. While [medical problem] can obviously have a significant impact on your work, this site's users don't have the experience or training to help you handle this [situation/problem/scenario]. [Such questions are / this is] best left to medical professionals. Consider asking your treating physician for advice or resources that will help you at work.

Drop the first sentence if the user has posted before. Drop the last sentence if you get the feeling that the OP isn't receiving treatment for whatever problem he might face. In that case, use your best judgement for whether you should recommend that the OP seek treatment. In most cases it's not our place to do so and such advice can backfire so use it with caution.

  • thanks, appreciate the template.
    – mcknz
    Nov 12, 2015 at 6:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .