It will affect one in four of us, but mental illness remains a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace - something we can change, says the Business Disability Forum's Bela Gor.
One in four people will experience some kind of mental health issue at some point in their life. Yet, despite its prevalence, mental illness remains a taboo subject, with many people fearing they will be seen as weak or even shunned if they discuss their condition.
When the subject is aired - particularly in the tabloid press - people with mental ill health are often ridiculed. The Sun's headline after ex-boxer Frank Bruno's stay at a psychiatric hospital read "Bonkers Bruno locked up". More recently, the newspaper headlined a story about distressed "Britain's Got Talent" contestant Susan Boyle with the catchy "SuBo goes loco".
Is it any surprise that a recent study revealed that 71% of people with depression actively hide it from others?"
Is it any surprise that a study reported in The Lancet late last year revealed that 71% of people with depression actively hide it from others? Or that 79% claimed they had been discriminated against at some point in their lives?
The taboo against a reasoned discussion of mental health also extends to the workplace - nearly half of people with depression in the same study expected to be discriminated against in finding or keeping a job.
Help for employers
Organisations, however, can challenge this stigma by the way in which they manage people with mental health difficulties in the workplace, and Business Disability Forum's new guide, "Mental health at work", will help them to do it.
The guide, sponsored by the Environment Agency, has been written for line managers, whether they are in charge of one person, a team or even a whole organisation. Its aim is to help them become better managers of people with mental ill health. It also challenges common assumptions and attitudes about mental health, helping managers to look after their own wellbeing.
A mental health condition can manifest itself at any time in a person's life. The types can be bewildering - from anxiety to bipolar disorder, self-harm or schizophrenia - but man