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‘Mental Health and Work’, the latest report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), highlights the impact that mental health problems and sickness absence has on businesses in the UK, and makes recommendations on how to support people with mental health problems during employment, whilst on sick leave and out of work.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, commented:
“We welcome this report, which puts mental health and work on the agenda, and highlights some of the key challenges and solutions. Appropriate employment can be beneficial to wellbeing, so we agree that more specialist support is needed. This will help tackle the barriers to entering and retaining work faced by people with mental health problems. The report also identifies the need for better integration between employers, the health service and the benefits system, as well as initiatives like Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT). Too many people currently fall through the gaps because these services are not joined up.
“Early intervention is key to supporting good mental health, and the new Health and Work service is an opportunity to help individuals get the right support at the right time. For the service to be effective, however, we need to see case managers with expertise in mental health who are able to recognise the impact a complex, fluctuating condition can have on somebody’s ability to work.
“The report appears to support the reforms to the welfare system, including compulsory reassessment of those claiming out-of-work and sickness benefits. However, we know that sanctions do not help people back into work, in fact they often make it harder for people to engage and result in individuals being pushed even further from the workplace.”