Discrimination is a common occurrence in both the private and working lives of those suffering from depression, a new study claims.

The international study, published in The Lancet, involved more than 1,000 sufferers of depression in 35 countries across the world.

It found that almost eight out of ten (79 per cent) reported experiencing discrimination in at least one life domain.

And the findings suggested that in many cases this experience of discrimination is preventing those with depression from enjoying full educational, social and workplace inclusion.

More than a third (37 per cent) of participants said they had stopped themselves from initiating a close personal relationship because of their fear of discrimination, a quarter said it had prevented them from applying for work, and 20 per cent said discrimination had stopped them from applying for education or training.

The study also found that those who were less willing to disclose their depression to others were more likely to experience discrimination.

“Discrimination related to depression acts as a barrier to social participation and successful vocational integration,” said the study’s authors.

“Non-disclosure of depression is itself a further barrier to seeking help and to receiving effective treatment.

“This finding suggests that new and sustained approaches are needed to prevent stigmatisation of people with depression and reduce the effects of stigma when it is already established.”

Meanwhile, separate research released this week has found that the economic downturn has led to a deterioration in people’s mental health – with men particularly affected.

Published in the online journal BMJ Open, the study from the Medical Research Council analysed data concerning 107,000 people taken from the annual health survey for England for adults aged 25 to 64, between 1991 and 2010.

It found that the prevalence of anxiety and depression among men rose from 11.3 per cent in 2008 when the economic crisis began, to 16.6 per cent in 2009.

In comparison, the rate only increased by 0.2 per cent among women, to 16.2 per cent, although starting from a much higher base level.

“One potential explanation for our results would be that job insecurity during the current recession is responsible for the deterioration in mental health with men’s psychological health remaining more affected by economic fluctuations despite greater female labour market participation,” said the researchers.