A new initiative to help business executives and professionals tackle the
devastating effects of workplace depression

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About us

It’s time to act!

Target the Impact of Depression in the Workplace is guided by a Business Leadership Forum made up of senior business and medical executives from major European employers alongside international organisations working on health, labour and employment issues. Together the Forum will recommend concrete tools and resources that will enable businesses to:


Today’s global economy puts a premium on cerebral, or brain, skills. Depression attacks cognition, for example the ability to make decisions, remember things and concentrate. Workers experience cognitive symptoms up to 94% of the time during an episode of depression, affecting quality of life and the ability to function professionally and socially.1

Depression presents a significant burden on the workplace:

It’s time to act.

1 Conradi HJ et al. Psychol Med 2011; 41: 1165-1174.
2 Depression Factsheet. WHO Last accessed March 2014
3 World Health Organization. The global burden of disease. Available at: Last update 2004.
4 IDEA: Impact of Depression at Work in Europe Audit Final report. Ipsos Healthcare. October 2012
5 Stewart WF et al. JAMA, 2003, 289 (23): 3135 – 3144.
6 Olesen J et al. Eur J Neurol 2012; 19: 155-162.
7 Rush AJ et al. Am J Psychiatry 2006; 163(11):1905-17.
8 Evans-Lacko S, Knapp M. Importance of Social and Cultural Factors for Attitudes, Disclosure and Time off Work for Depression: Findings from a Seven Country European Study on Depression in the Workplace. PLOS One. 2014 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091053


Who’s involved?

The Business Leadership Forum’s advisory group is chaired by Bill Wilkerson, Executive Chair of Mental Health International. Shaun Davis, Group Director of Safety, Health, Wellbeing & Sustainability, Royal Mail Group Ltd. The advisory group comprises senior business leaders from some of the largest organisations in Europe.


Bill Wilkerson



Shaun Davis

Shaun Davis


The International Labour Organization ( is also represented on the Forum’s Advisory Group

 The depressing cost of mental health – watch this video to learn more about Target Depression


Target the Impact of Depression in the Workplace is sponsored, but not owned by H. Lundbeck A/S. Target the Impact of Depression in the Workplace is owned by Mental Health International.
Secretariat services are provided by Mental Health International

“Mental health is the dominant workplace health
issue of our time. Work can either be beneficial
or harmful to mental health and employers can
make a major contribution to the wellbeing of
society by their actions.”
Dr Paul Litchfield BT Group Chief Medical Officer and Director Wellbeing, Inclusion, Safety & Health

Business charter


In October 2014, business leaders from across Europe met to launch a Business Charter that aims to prevent the disabling effects of depression among employees and reduce the burden of depression on employers.

The Charter is based on six key principles that companies can commit to, guiding the development of policies, programmes and practices to help reduce the burden of depression on employees and employers.

The six key principles:

  1. A healthy, prevention-focused workplace
  2. An informed and understanding workplace
  3. A well-trained, responsive workplace
  4. An open, safe and secure workplace
  5. An adaptive, supportive workplace
  6. A workplace with ties to community care and key influencers

The innovative Charter aligns to a series of Pilot Projects which will be undertaken in 2015 by volunteering companies to build a roster of real evidence around workplace best practice.

Show your support for better management of depression in the workplace by endorsing the Charter and use it as a framework in your own organisation.

organisations have
endorsed the Charter

“Initiatives such as yours which focus directly at the
enterprise level by offering a set of principles to which
companies can commit themselves, can make a real
contribution to not only highlighting the real
challenge ahead of us, but also offering practical
guidance and resources for companies to access.”
Guy Ryder, Director General, International Labour Organization

Our report

Business leaders share new insights on workplace depression

Our new report outlines the challenges some organisations face in managing depression in the workplace. ‘Depression in the Workplace in Europe: A report featuring new insights from business leaders’ also shares examples of progressive steps taken by employers to tackle depression and maintain a healthy working environment. It also highlights the importance of creating a ‘new openness’ about mental health and especially depression in the workplace.

Download our special report



“Cognition is the ignition of productivity and
innovation in the global brain-based economy.
And depression attacks that vital asset.”
Bill Wilkerson, Chair, Business Leadership Forum to Target the Impact of Depression in the Workplace

Meetings & events

“Your decision to host the launch of the European
Business Leadership Forum to target depression in
the workplace is an admirable expression of
international cooperation in an area of significant
importance to Europe, Canada and the world - and I
applaud you for it.”
Brian Ager, Secretary General, European Round Table of Industrialists

Latest updates

The Early Light of a Long Sunrise

TARGET MENTAL HEALTH…and the facts are… The Early Light of a Long Sunrise It is like the early light of a long low sunrise. Night is ebbing. Dawn has awakened. But a tough, long day lies ahead. That’s how the fight against mental illness looks and feels. Yet, we can see streaks of progress across […]

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Making Mental Health a Global Development Priority

MAKING MENTAL HEALTH A GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT PRIORITY Global Mental Health & Psychiatry Newsletter: Career, Leadership and Mentorship Program By Eliot Sorel, MD Newsletter Volume II, No. 2 June 2016 Read More >

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Finding a Cure for Depression: Plausible Objective?

TARGET MENTAL HEALTH… and the facts are… Find a Cure for Depression: Plausible Objective? Finding a cure for mental disorders is a stated objective of the largest government mental health funding agency in the world, the US National Institute of Mental Health. Mental Health International found a consensus among leaders of business and science that: […]

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“ A company’s employees are the most valuable
capital. A healthy workplace and active leadership
contributes to employee satisfaction, and in turn
company satisfaction and long-term success.”


If you would like to get involved in the Business Leadership Forum to Target the Impact of Depression in the Workplace, want more information or have a question, we’d really like to hear from you.





Please note that the information on this website is not a substitute for medical advice and enquiries may not be monitored for regularly. If you are in crisis, concerned about an immediate risk of harm or don’t feel safe, please seek assistance from a healthcare professional.