GPs are set to be trained in helping patients with mental health problems back into work as part of a £12m research programme, the Government has announced.
The money is being used to fund four pilots testing different approaches to aligning mental health and employment services, including training GPs to ‘recognise the importance of work in improving mental health’.
Other approaches will include providing claimants with ‘key workers’ to help them follow bespoke action plans, support for new employees to stay in work and training of employment advisors to identify mental health problems.
Nearly half of people on Employment and Support Allowance have mental health conditions, and mental health costs taxpayers and businesses £105bn a year in health and police services, welfare benefits and sickness absence, the Government said.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: ‘It is shocking to think that mental health is now the leading cause of illness in the workplace. It’s even more shocking that many of the people suffering are simply not getting the support they need.
‘That’s why I’m working hard in Government to bring mental health out of the shadows. I’m heading up a dedicated mental health taskforce and pushing of investment in pilots like this to help create a fairer society where people get the right support and treatment they need, when they need it.’
Norman Lamb, minister of state for care and support, said: ‘I want to build a fairer society and that means people with mental health problems must get the help they need to find and stay in work.’
The £12m investment follows £3m invested by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health into helping people with mental health problems who are unemployed into work.
The four pilot areas are Blackpool, Greater Manchester, North East Combined Authority and West London Alliance.