£122 million increase in employment for people receiving mental health support

  • A £122m boost to services will enable those receiving mental health support to speak to employment advisers
  • Employment counselors and therapists will work together to make it easier and faster for a person to return to or find work – boosting economic growth

Across England, people with common mental health problems such as stress, anxiety and depression will have access to an employment adviser thanks to new government funding.

£122 million is being invested in rolling out a vital NHS England service nationally, providing those receiving mental health support with employment advice to help them stay in work or get back into the labor market more quickly, with the right support in place.

The service brings together therapists and employment advisers to help people with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression find work that suits them. With strong evidence that work improves mental health, supporting more people to work will not only fuel a thriving labor market, but also increase individual prosperity.

Continued support to help people focus on their careers and progress in their careers will in turn help the economy grow.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Chloe Smith said:

On World Mental Health Day, it’s important to recognize the virtuous circle between health and work – we know that giving people the support they need to work is very good for their long-term health.

The Government’s growth-focused agenda will deliver jobs, higher wages and greater opportunities – and I am delighted that people who have faced barriers to entering the workforce due to poor mental health will now be able to to access support across England.

Helping people to access both clinical support for their mental health and work advice gives them the tools they need to start or return to work. This is vital to reducing inactivity and growing our economy so we can provide more money and support for public services like these.

Health and Social Care Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Therese Coffey said:

A nation’s good physical health and mental wellbeing is also good for the nation’s economic health and this Government is committed to supporting those out of work due to ill health.

Giving people receiving mental wellbeing support access to an employment adviser will help them get, stay and succeed in work – improving their wellbeing and resilience and growing our economy.

Clare Murdoch, NHS National Director of Mental Health, said:

The NHS is committed to continuing to play its role in supporting people with mental health problems who want to work, and offering employment advice from experienced advisers through our talking therapy services across the country is a fantastic and important development, particularly in times of economic challenges and increased need for mental health support.

We know that work has many benefits for our mental health and wellbeing, from increasing our sense of purpose to providing a structured routine, and although thousands of people are already benefiting from this innovative service, this wider rollout across the country means everything people struggling with anxiety and depression will have access to both our usual NHS talking therapy offerings, through their GP or online registration with their local service, as well as expert employment advice in all areas of the country.

Towards improved access to psychological therapies (IAPT), often referred to as ‘NHS talking therapies’ services, can be through a GP, health professional or by self-referral. The use of IAPT services, participation in psychological treatment and employment support are purely voluntary.

NHS England therapists and employment advisers now work together in 40% of the country. During the three-year spending review period, the service will be rolled out nationally, recruiting and training around 700 employment advisers, so that up to 100,000 people can receive the combined offer each year from 2024 to 2025, accessing the support to start, stay and succeed in work.

The service is now fully operational in Cheshire and The Wirral, giving people support to get back on their feet and back into work. Employment counselors provide compassionate support for those who have fallen on really hard times.

Reviews:

Peter*

After the death of his wife and assuming the sole responsibilities of caring for his two children, Peter was out of work due to grief and stress for two years. After using his local speech therapies, Peter was referred to employment counsellors, he worked with his employment adviser to find roles that would be manageable with his childcare commitments and help him benefit from social aspects of return to work. To prepare him for job interviews and build his confidence, the employment counselor helped Peter complete interview training and gave him guidance on returning to work after a long absence. Thanks to the support of his employment adviser, Peter is now in flexible part-time work as a salesman and delivery driver and is excited to be working in a role that suits his lifestyle.

carol*

Carol was absent from work for a period of two years as she cared for her parents until their deaths. Carol suffered from anxiety because of this and went to talk therapy to help. After this period, Carol felt that the job would help her confidence. Carol worked with her employment counselor to improve her resume, improve her job search skills, and build her confidence. The employment counselor also helped to improve Carol’s interview skills, which eased her anxiety and supported her to succeed in a nursing home job interview. After being offered the job, Carol received additional support with guidance on returning to work after an extended period of absence. She has now completed her studies at the nursing home and thanks to the support she received, her life has changed dramatically for the better.

*Not their real names

More information:

  • IAPT services were first launched in 2008. IAPT services provide psychological therapy to people with depression and anxiety to help them recover from and improve self-management of common mental conditions.
  • EAs in IAPT is a voluntary service that enables those who request it to access combined psychological treatment and employment support to help them stay, return or find work and improve their mental health.

Media inquiries for this press release – 0115 965 8781

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