Mental health employment strategy launched by government

The government unveiled a new mental health employment strategy in December designed to help more employees with mental health problems to find, and stay in, employment.

The Working Our Way to Better Mental Health: A Framework for Action strategy was published by the departments of Health and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The government has estimated that mental ill health costs the economy between £30bn and £40bn through lost production, sick pay and NHS treatment, as well as the personal and financial costs that result from being out of work.

It included the establishment of a network of mental health co-ordinators in every Jobcentre Plus district and the piloting of government-backed work placements to help people with mental illness return to work.

Ministers also said they would look at ways to extend the Access to Work programme to help more people with mental health difficulties find and stay in work.

The launch also saw the formal unveiling of the NHS Plus-run workplace health helpline for small businesses (see story below).

Alongside the new strategy, the government unveiled a DWP-commissioned independent review of employment support for people with mental health conditions, entitled Realising Ambitions.

A cross-governmental “delivery plan” for England, entitled Work, Recovery and Inclusions, was also published to show how support can be improved for people who are in contact with mental health services at the secondary care level to get back into work.

Finally, the government also published a report, New Horizons: a shared vision for mental health, setting out commitments to action for 11 government departments.

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