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Thursday, 18 May 2017

Support call over people with mental health conditions looking to stay in work

Written by Alan Jones

The Government and employers are being urged to do more to support people with mental health conditions after a study showed that few of those with long-term problems are in work.

The TUC said its research found that only one in four people with a mental illness or phobia lasting over a year were in a job.

The union organisation said it was concerned that employers were failing to make adequate changes in the workplace to enable people with mental illnesses, anxiety or depression to get a job, or stay in work.

The employment rate for disabled people is increasing, but the TUC said it was happening too slowly for the Government to reach its target of halving the disability employment gap by 2020.

It estimated it will take until 2025 for those classified in official figures as having long-term depression and anxiety, and until 2029 for people classified as having a long-term mental illness.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady (pictured) said: "It's simply not good enough that so few people with long-term mental health problems are able to stay in work.

"Not only is the economy missing out on the skills and talents these workers have, but having to leave your job can worsen your mental health.

"The next government and employers must do more to support people with mental health conditions. Simple steps like giving an employee time off to go to counselling appointments can make a huge difference."

Danielle Hamm of Rethink Mental Illness said: "This report clearly shows that there are still challenges in supporting people with mental health issues in the workplace.

"Many employers don't feel equipped to support staff adequately, particularly when these issues are causing absences from work."

The TUC added that time off for counselling should be paid.

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