On the 15th of February 2016 the Government announced plans to improve mental health services in England, with an extra £1 billion per year to be provided by the end of the decade.
This announcement was based on recommendations made by the Mental Health Taskforce (an independent, expert panel chaired by Mind CEO Paul Farmer), which set out a comprehensive plan to tackle the issue. The Taskforce found clear links between working and good mental health and the need for more people to be able to access early treatment to avoid long-term unemployment. The recommendations also called for the employment of people with mental health conditions to be recognised as a health outcome. As part of its announcement, the Government also met with business leaders including the CEOs of Royal Mail, Barclays and BT to highlight the need for a shift in attitude to people with mental health conditions in the workplace and to agree new workplace standards.
The Government confirmed that it will work with the NHS to ensure access to talking therapies for people suffering from conditions like depression and anxiety. In excess of £50 million is to be invested to more than double the number of employment advisors so that they are linked in to every talking therapy service in the country. It is also anticipated that £50 million will be spent on doubling the reach of programmes finding work for people with mental illness – with evidence showing that such programmes save £6,000 per person due to reduced inpatient costs. It is also expected that 29,000 more people with mental health conditions will be helped to find or stay in work due to an increase in the access to therapies and more mental health experts in job centres.
Should the plans prove successful then tens of thousands of people with mental health conditions could be supported to find/return to the workplace. This would prove a boost to the economy with latest figures revealing that only 43% of people with mental health conditions are in employment compared with almost four fifths of the general population and two thirds of people with other health conditions.