Mental health strategy will support employers to help staff

The government has today launched a new Mental health employment strategy to help more workers with mental health problems find, and stay in, employment.

The strategy published jointly by the Department of Health and the Department for Work and Pensions aims to reduce the £17.3bn a year cost of sickness absence and improve the UK’s mental health.

As part of a new package of support the government has launched nine pilot occupational health advice lines to support businesses in helping their workers with mental health problems.

These advice lines will give employers direct access to occupational health professionals and enable them to identify the services they need to help their staff.

A new network of mental health co-ordinators will also be launched in every Jobcentre Plus district, to improve the employment opportunities of jobseekers who suffer from poor mental health.

Government-backed work placements will also be piloted to help people return to work.

Ministers will also look to extend the Access to Work programme to help more people with mental health difficulties find and stay in work.

Work and pensions secretary Yvette Cooper, said: “We know that work is good for people and that’s why we want to give everyone the support they need to stay in a job, or get back to work. Today we are giving people with mental health conditions this support.

“We are also helping employers understand what they can do to help people stay in their jobs and manage their condition so that they don’t have to leave work and fall on to benefits at all.”

Depression affects one in six people in the UK and causes one of the main disabling conditions in this country.

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