Top 15 Depressing Jobs

Sometimes a person gets lucky and finds the perfect job. Unfortunately, some of those jobs come with serious mental side effects. High stress, long hours, and emotional pressure can all contribute to occasional bouts of depression for employees in these professions.

Lots of these jobs come with a lot of responsibility but very little control. If your career is in the top 15 and you’ve been feeling blue, it might not hurt to seek counseling from a licensed professional. 


It’s not easy building a career as an artist – not just the ones who paint, but also the ones who write, sing, dance, or try to make a living in some other offbeat way. Not only are the markets hard to break into, but it can take a long time to work up the ladder. Most artists are looking at years of being told no, and may never achieve the goal they set out with.

Furthermore, studies have shown people who are more creatively inclined are also more susceptible to mental health disorders. According to Billboard, 70% of Musicians say they suffered from anxiety or depression. DailyMail found that artists are four times more likely to commit suicide, with males being two times more likely than females. 


Imagine being surrounded on a daily basis by a bunch of kids, some of whom want to learn, but some of whom are there simply to cause trouble. To top of it off, there’s the added pressure of parents feeling the need to put their two cents in, because Little Johnny is an angel at home – there’s no reason he should be getting such low grades and it must be the teacher’s fault.

Every day, hundreds of young ones are foisted onto a relatively low ratio of teachers, who are expected to maintain them all, at a pretty considerably poor pay. The journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epistemology published a report that showed the depression rate in the education industry is 10.45%. While teachers have the lowest suicide rates, it’s easy for them to get burned out and depressed with all the red-tape that comes with the profession. 

Administrative Staff

This is a great example of employees with very little control and a whole lot of responsibility. Support staff, like secretaries, receptionists, and administrative assistants, are expected to keep everything running smoothly for the guy on top. There’s only so much they can do, however, and they often don’t get the respect and thanks they deserve. While they’re making things easier for everyone else, everyone else is making things harder on them.

Baltimore Sun did a report on a study from Johns Hopkins School of Public Medicine. It found that administrative staff, secretaries, in particular, were more likely to use mental health services, and they had higher use of anti-anxiety medication. The Bureau of Labor did a study as well and found that 3.5% of administrative staff commit suicide.

Financial Advisors and Accountants

Dealing with one’s own money is stressful enough. These people are in charge of billions of dollars for hundreds of clients. If the market over which they have no control crashes, they tend to be the first ones to get blamed for all that lost money.

All they can really do is advise, and if their suggestion doesn’t work out so well, they may find themselves losing a client worth an amount of money most of us can only dream of. According to Economia, a third of accounts (30.4%) suffer from poor mental health, with 71.4% admitting that depression or anxiety impacted their work life. 

Maintenance Workers

Although it might seem like this would be a fairly enjoyable job (you get to work at your own pace and have relatively little dealings with the public), studies show it to be quite the opposite. Schedules are rarely set in stone. These employees are only called when something goes wrong, and are often blamed for it.

To top it off, much of their time is spent cleaning up other people’s messes. Most people don’t even like to clean up their own messes. A report by NSDUH found that maintenance workers have a 7.3% risk of depression, which is slightly higher than that of the average wage earner. They’re also at risk of exposing themselves to various neurological contaminants. 


The average food industry job does not pay well. Servers make several dollars below minimum wage and are expected to make up the difference with tips, but tips are not always forthcoming. Behind the scenes, cooks fare better as far as hourly pay is concerned, but very rarely get recognition for their efforts. Both jobs require a lot of running around, physical exertion, and pandering to the needs of others who are often rude or ungrateful.

Customers can get very ugly very quickly when their food isn’t perfect, and it can be incredibly stressful to provide excellent service to someone who walked in the door convinced the service was going to be below par. According to a 2015 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, the restaurant industry ranks the highest to illicit drug use and third-highest for heavy alcohol consumption. The American Journal of Epidemiology also found that tipped workers are at a greater risk for depression, insomnia, and stress compared to non-tipped workers. 

Nursing Home and Child Care Workers

These guys are looking out for people who can’t look out for themselves. From changing diapers to spoon-feeding, it’s a lot of work to put into someone who doesn’t have much to offer back. This is a job with little appreciation, as most of the people being cared for (young or old) are often not capable of providing recognition for a job well done or even of clearly voicing their needs.

Harvard decided to look into the mental health of those working in long-term care facilities and found that 26% suffered from depressive symptoms — over one in four.  Depression was most common in those who earned a low wage. This bumped it up to 41.2%.  Childcare workers aren’t much different. Health Affairs published that early childcare and education workers report clinical depression two to five times greater than national averages. 

Social Workers

It takes a brave soul to take on a system built around dysfunctional families and abused or neglected children. Every day brings a new set of challenges and horrors, from drunken fathers to battered mothers to kids who haven’t eaten in three days, all living in roach-infested living spaces. And to top it off, many of these families are not pleased with the state’s intrusion.

Perhaps the hardest part of the job is knowing when to stop – how to leave work at work, how not to give away too much of the self. It’s a job that burns employees out pretty quickly and certainly doesn’t pay well enough. A study in North Carolina by Darcy Siebert found 19% of the social workers surveyed had depression. Another one in England discovered upwards of 15-16%,  which is three times the rate of the general population. 


Perhaps the hardest part of sales is that it generally doesn’t come with a steady paycheck. Salesmen are subject to the whims of the market and consumer. Their pay is generally based strictly on commission, which takes away any kind of financial stability. Everyone hates a pushy salesperson, but they’re trying to make a mortgage payment just like everyone else.

Handling rude customers certainly aren’t going to make anyone’s day better. While it may not sound rough, 67% of sales agents reported experiencing burnout, which is closely linked to anxiety and depression, according to Thrive Global. Couple that with the fact that 74% feel like their profession is a 24/7 job, it means that there’s no escape from the stress. 

Doctors and Nurses

It’s no wonder these workers have a hard time. Doctors and nurses have to take care of sick and dying patients on a daily basis. Sometimes there’s nothing they can do about it, but sometimes, they have to admit they went about it the wrong way. Not to mention families who feel like their loved ones could have been treated better can throw quite a fit, whether or not the hurled insults are deserved.

Even dentists, which might seem like the least strenuous of the mental health professions, have trouble coping, leading the charts with their suicide rates. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, male physicians are 1.41 times higher to commit suicide than the general male population. Female physicians are much higher than that at 2.27 times higher. At least 28% of medical professionals also experience a major depressive episode. 


Taking care of the sick isn’t easy, whether it’s humans or pets. Like doctors, veterinarians have to take care of dying animals, but they don’t get clear answers as they may for people. After all, surgery for a person is common, but major surgery for a pet? Much, much rarer. Some may not have the money, which is understandable, but vets also see those who don’t care about their pets.

Veterinarians are one of the highest risk professions for unmanaged or untreated mental health conditions. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention found that vets are 2.5 times more likely to commit suicide compared to the general population. At least 9% had serious psychological distress, 31% had depressive episodes, and a shocking 17% had suicidal thoughts.

Emergency Medical Technicians

Being an EMT, you see the worst things. They’re the first responders in car accidents, overdoses, and all manner of dangers that would warp the human mind. Unfortunately, these hard workers also don’t get paid much. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they get paid 40% less than the average American.  Could that be why the suicide rate for EMTs is so high?

The Clinical Psychology Review discovered EMTs have a surprising 5.2% (compared to 2.2% for non-EMTs). A study by Samantha Dutton from the University of Phoenix also did a study and found that 85% of the first responders surveyed experienced symptoms related to mental health issues. One-third of them were also formally diagnosed with depression or PTSD.

Construction Workers

Our society is literally built on the backs of construction workers. The industry can be extremely dangerous while offering very little pay. In fact, many will tell you that they are extremely underpaid for the backbreaking work they do every single day.

A report by the CDC looked at suicide rates for construction workers and discovered that it’s 53.5 per 100,000 employees, much higher than the national average. It doesn’t get better as you move up the ladder, either. Engineers and Architects rose that statistic to 85.5 per 100,000 workers. That’s six times the national suicide rate.

Humanitarian Workers

Being a humanitarian is one of the most altruistic professions out there, but it isn’t an easy job. The work is mentally taxing and requires exposure to direct and secondary traumatization. This can cause the humanitarian to experience PTSD, depression, or even suicidal ideations. Even worse, providing help to these individuals can be very difficult. Who helps the helpers?

A study in the European Journal of Psychotraumatology found that 30% of the Red Cross nurses from China who helped during the Wenchuan earthquake experienced PTSD. The same study found that 68% of Ugandan national staff were at high risk for depression while 58% were high risk in Sri Lanka. The anxiety rates were much the same.


Becoming an attorney is extremely difficult and being one can be even harder. Lawyers spend a long of hours poring over documents, meaning they may not get much sleep. Depending on their field, they may see the worst humanity has to offer (and some have to actually defend them!). No matter what way you look at it, being an attorney is one of the toughest jobs out there.

ABA Journal published that attorneys are 3.6 times as likely to be depressed as those with other jobs. In 2016, the American Bar Association and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation study discovered that 28% of licensed, employed studies actually suffer from depression, while 19% experience anxiety. Another 21% stated they were problem drinkers.

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