Depression is the leading cause of life years lost due to disability. At the same time, a worldwide trend of mental disorders displacing musculoskeletal conditions as the predominant reason for illness-related absences and work incapacity has been noted.
Although appropriate prevention strategies have the potential to reduce the incidence of new cases of depression, facilitation and roll-out of such interventions tends to be limited, sporadic, and unsystematic, in part due to a lack of structure within which to disseminate programs. Workplaces are uniquely placed to offer this structure as the workplace tends to be a dominant setting in the lives of most adults and while the workplace has been found to be a source of mental stress for individuals and a contributing factor for mental health issues, mentally healthy workplaces have also been shown to be protective against such conditions.
Finally, there are specific financial incentives (due to the costs associated with mental ill health) for organisations to retain good employee mental health.