Employment: Mental Illness

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered at on 20 January 2017.

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Photo of Karen Lumley Karen Lumley Conservative, Redditch

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps is he is taking to ensure full access to the workplace for people with ongoing mental health conditions.

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper ‘Improving Lives’, published in October 2016, sets out our intention to remove the long-standing injustices and barriers that stop disabled people and people with health conditions, including ongoing mental health conditions, from getting into work and getting on. We are also determined to bring a new focus to efforts to prevent health conditions from developing and worsening, helping more people to remain in work for longer. This includes putting mental and physical health on an equal footing, to ensure people get the right care and prevent mental illness in the first place.

To make early progress we are significantly improving our employment support. For example, expanding the number of employment advisers and introducing a new Personal Support Package offering tailored employment support. We are working with health partners to embed evidence into clinical practice and support training and education across the NHS workforce. We are also investing £115 million of funding to develop new models of support to help people into work when they are managing a long-term health condition or disability. We will identify and rapidly scale those which can make a difference, while weeding out less promising approaches.

In her speech on the 9th January the Prime Minister announced that more will be done to support mental wellbeing in the workplace. Lord Stevenson, who has campaigned on these issues for many years, and Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind and Chair of the NHS Mental Health Taskforce, have been commissioned to work with leading employers and mental health groups to create a new partnership with industry and, review how best to ensure employees with mental health problems are enabled to thrive in the workplace and perform at their best and make prevention and breaking the stigma top priorities for employers. The Prime Minister also announced a review of employment discrimination laws against people with mental health conditions in the workplace for employees with mental health problems to ensure they are properly supported.

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