It is important for employers to be approachable and responsive to their staff concerning the issue of depression at work, one expert has said.

According to Emer O’Neill, chief executive of Depression Alliance, bosses should do their best to remove the stigma surrounding the problem as it can cost UK firms billions of pounds in lost productivity.

She stated: "What we want to highlight … and statistics have backed this up, is that having a job really helps recovery from depression, as it does for other types of mental health problems. It really connects people … socially and it really is of benefit."

Ms O’Neill went on to say that there are simple things employers can do to "really improve" people’s work experiences.

Her comments were made as part of the organisation’s Depression Awareness Week, which this year is focussing primarily on the issue of employment.