Page last updated at 23:08 GMT, Sunday, 23 August 2009 00:08 UK

Mental health support for workers

A man with his head in his hands
Employees with mental health issues will be helped to keep working

People with mental health problems will get extra support to help manage their condition so they can remain in the workplace, the government has said.

The move comes after pilot schemes that were said to be 90% successful in helping people with fluctuating mental health conditions retain their jobs.

The government-led pilots were run with mental health charity Mind.

Jim Knight, Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform, said people would get "the right help early on".

Following the success of the trials, the government is now looking to extend the support, with an expectation that they will be rolled out nationally.

Mr Knight said: "I know disabled people dearly want to stay in work and their employers want to do everything they can to keep good staff.

"Our plans to offer the right help early on can end the downward spiral of people falling out of work into sick leave, and onto benefits.

"We are all agreed that helping people stay in work is good news for them, their bosses and for the taxpayer."

Further measures

The government has also announced its first ever National Strategy for Mental Health and Employment, for publication in the autumn.

This will include expectations of employers, healthcare professionals, organisations and individuals in improving well-being in the workplace.

Also being introduced is a network of dedicated mental health experts across Jobcentre Plus, who will work with colleagues in the health system to coordinate support for people with mental health conditions.

And a consultation on Right to Control will give disabled people, including those with mental health problems, greater choice and control over how public money is spent to meet their individual needs and ambitions.

The government is also increasing the Access to Work fund, from £69m to £138m over the next five years.

This is intended to provided practical advice and financial support to disabled people and their employers, to help them overcome work-related obstacles resulting from disability.

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