April 28, 2014

European moves to tackle depression in workplace by Tim Moynihan

 out, according to a survey published today.

Some 83% of those affected experience isolation or loneliness as a result, the British study found.

The research involving 1,200 people across Britain also found that only half of those feeling lonely or isolated had confided in a colleague, yet nearly three-quarters (71%) found that discussing their condition with a colleague helped them feel better.

The survey, published by Depression Alliance as part of Depression Awareness Week, reveals the high numbers of people affectedby depression at work, and highlights the need for employers to take action to recognise the condition better and to support affected staff.

Also launched today, areport, Depression in the Workplace in Europe: A reportfeaturing new insights frombusiness leaders, highlightshow several major Britishcompanies including RoyalMail, Barclays and Unileverare tackling depression, byimplementing new policiesto enable structured supportand processes for affectedworkers.

Tim Munden, vice president HR, Unilever UK,said: "At Unilever we firmly believe that addressing depression through our mental health policies benefits both our business and our employees. We aim for a 10% reduction by 2015 in work-related mental ill-health cases and working days lost to mentalill-health."

Emer O'Neill, chief executive of Depression Alliance,said: "Depression is the biggest mental health challenge among working-age people and often leads to considerable loneliness and isolation at work. However, many companies aren't properly equipped to manage employees who suffer from depression, so providing support to these individuals in the workplace is essential.

"We have just launched Friends in Need, (www.friendsinneed.co.uk) which provides anyone withdepression with a free and easy way to connect, either online or by meeting in groups and taking part in local activities, all of which help stop the feelings of loneliness and isolation." Depression AwarenessWeek, organised by Depression Alliance, lasts to next Saturday.

British Care and Support Minister Norman Lambsaid: "I want to build a fairersociety so that anyone with a mental health problemsuch as depression gets thesupport they need whenthey need it.

"That's why we've invest-ed £400m (€485m) inimproving access to treat-ment for conditions including depression and anxiety— which support people tostay in work."• The full report at www.targetdepression.com