With this week (April 21st-26th) representing Depression Awareness Week, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has taken the opportunity to highlight the issue of mental ill health at work.

According to research conducted by the organisation in 2006, poor mental health is the second largest cause of lost time due to sickness absence in the UK, with the most common problems being stress, depression and anxiety.

"It’s important for managers and HR practitioners to be aware of the signs of mental ill health so that they can take action early and provide support before the individual’s condition deteriorates to the point they go off on long-term sick leave," stated Ben Wilmott, CIPD’s employee relations advisor.

He went on to recommend that the provision of flexible working opportunities, counselling services, employee assistance help lines and access to occupational health support can all help struggling workers to overcome their problems.

In other health-related news, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health recently advised that while Dame Carol Black’s ‘Working for a healthier tomorrow’ report "shines a much-needed light" on the failure of healthcare and employment support required to meet the needs of workers, it fails to focus on preventing worker ailments in the first place.