Disability forum welcomes plans to help mentally ill at work

The Employers’ Forum on Disability (EFD) has welcomed government plans to help people with mental health problems stay in work.

Work and pensions secretary James Purnell last week announced an increase in funding for the Access to Work programme, to test new ways of helping people with mental health issues stay in work and off benefits.

The EFD, in conjunction with consultancy the Great Place to Work Institute, published research showing that line managers were not adequately trained to help employees experiencing mental distress.

More than 400 line managers from about 60 employers answered an online poll. While three in four had managed at least one person who they knew had mental ill health, only 13% had received training on mental health awareness.

Susan Scott-Parker, chief executive at the EFD, said: “It is encouraging that so many line managers want to support employees experiencing mental distress. It shows employers are becoming more disability confident.

“However, many organisations do not take a best-practice approach to mental health issues at work. Any plans to help people with mental health issues stay in work need the experience of both employees and employers to be a success.”

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