Just 8% of MPs believe the NHS is sufficiently prepared to manage depression efficiently, a survey has found.
The charity Depression Alliance said that three-quarters (76%) of MPs questioned felt that cost-effective mental health services should have the same mandatory funding as physical health services, while three in five (60%) agreed that mental health problems such as depression are an important national policy issue in the UK, second only to cancer.
The charity has launched a campaign to improve the employment rates of people with depression, finding that nearly three-quarters (72%) of the MPs polled believe the next government should prioritise supporting people with depression to get back into employment.
The same amount also agreed that the government should provide support to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to promote prevention and early intervention in depression in the workplace.
Emer O'Neill, chief executive of Depression Alliance, said: "With one in every six working age people suffering from depression at any one time, improving awareness and support for individuals and businesses is critical. People with depression can and do make a valuable contribution to the workplace.
"Yet it is still a taboo, with too many people - individuals and employers - afraid to discuss the issue and find meaningful and appropriate solutions. Beyond providing income, work provides structure and focus, it creates social opportunities and give us a sense of achievement and it's a very important part of maintaining recovery from depression.
"The majority of MPs agree that this should be a priority of the next government, so we call on the incoming class of 2015 MPs to work with us to improve employment rates for people with depression in order to boost businesses and strengthen the UK economy."
The poll saw 50 MPs who sat in the last parliament surveyed - 24 from the Conservative Party, 22 from the Labour Party, two from the Liberal Democrats and two from other parties.
Former minister for mental health, Paul Burstow, said: "I'm fully behind the Work in Progress campaign. We all need to do more to help raise awareness of mental health and what an important part work can play in recovery. Helping people with depression to feel supported in their work environment can mean the world to those individuals, and the bottom line is it could also save UK businesses billions.
"I call on every MP elected next month to help build a strong political force driving change, fighting stigma against mental illness and doing everything possible to keep people in work."
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