Tom The self medicator

Tom is in his 30’s and is a qualified diesel mechanic who has recently joined the Bus Company. Tom’s reason given for leaving his previous role was “family issues” with fly in/ fly out requirements of his previous role.

Tom fails a random drug test for recreational drugs. He reports he has been using drugs and alcohol for many years to “even me out”. Tom struggles to follow instructions and appears to “zone out”. Tom’s manager assumes it is due to his drug use and doesn’t follow up other reasons.

Tom doesn’t engage with anyone in the lunchroom and generally sticks to himself. He is socially isolated outside of work as well with limited family and social contacts.

Tom has undiagnosed depression.

Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. It is treatable. Depression causes a feeling of sadness and or a loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed. Depression can look different for everyone:

Depression Physical Symptoms

  • Tiredness or loss of energy
  • Changes in sleep patterns (trouble sleeping or sleeping too much)
  • Weight fluctuations (either up or down)
  • Changes in appetite
  • Backpain, headaches, joint or limb pain
  • Digestion problems or belly pain
  • Slowing of physical movements
  • Inability to sit still, pacing or handwringing.
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Trouble concentrating

Depression Emotional Symptoms

  • Feeling sad or persistent (greater than 2 weeks) low mood
  • Feeling numb, empty or overwhelmed
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Loss of interest of pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Irritability
  • Taking unnecessary risks
  • Thinking about death or suicide

There are different types of depression, and everyone’s experience is a little different – to learn more about the types and treatments for depression, please click on our depression fact sheet.


Click on the links below to learn more on how you can seek help and support.

It sounds a bit like me – I AM Tom

It sounds like someone I know – I KNOW Tom

It sounds like someone in my team – I MANAGE Tom

Living with a mental health condition looks different for everyone.
Click on the profiles below to understand what experiencing mental health issues might look like in your workplace, and how to get help.