Increased support for staff with mental health problems

The government has announced that thousands of people with mental health problems will get extra support managing their condition to remain in the workplace.

The move comes after government-led pilot schemes, run in conjunction with mental health charity Mind, have been shown to be 90% successful in helping employees with fluctuating mental health.

Based on this trial, the government is now looking to extend the support, with an expectation of rolling out nationally with a range of providers.

Jim Knight, minister of state for employment and welfare reform, said: “I know disabled people dearly want to stay in work and their employers want to do everything they can to keep good staff. Our plans to offer the right help early on can end the downward spiral of people falling out of work into sick leave, and onto benefits. We are all agreed that helping people stay in work is good news for them, their bosses and for the taxpayer.”

Sophie Corlett, director of external relations at Mind, said: “If employers put their mind to it and provide the right support they can keep their staff mentally well and fit for the workplace. People with mental health problems want to work but are often failed by employers who lack the understanding or the skills to provide the necessary support. We welcome the government’s increased investment in mental health, particularly during these difficult economic times, when now more than ever people need the support and understanding of their employers.”

The government has also announced its first National Strategy for Mental Health and Employment, for publication in the autumn, set to include expectations of employers, healthcare professionals, organisations and individuals in improving wellbeing in the workplace.

A new network of dedicated mental health experts across Jobcentre Plus will work together with colleagues in the health system to coordinate support for people who have mental health conditions.

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In addition the Access to Work fund will double from £69m to £138m over the next five years – providing practical advice and financial support to employees and their employers to help them overcome work-related obstacles resulting from disability.

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