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Job centres to support mental health

People out of work who suffer with a mental health condition are to receive help from specialist co-ordinators based in job centres.

The government's "radical overhaul" of mental health and employment strategy, aimed at improving job opportunities, follows a review led by mental health specialist Rachel Perkins.

Under the plans, ministers said dedicated advice lines to occupational health professionals will help smaller firms keep workers employed when health issues arise.

Dr Perkins, who works for the South West London and St George's Mental Health Trust, said: "People with mental health conditions remain among the most excluded within our society, particularly in the workplace.

"We know that work improves mental health and wellbeing and most people with a mental health condition would like to be in work and pursue a career."

The government is also expected to announce extra support for disabled people to find jobs.

Simon Knighton, Chief Executive, of the Expert Patients Programme Community Interest Company, said: “For too long mental healthcare has been the Cinderella of healthcare provision - yet so much can be achieved through the therapies offered by courses such as New Beginnings, a free local course for people living with or in recovery from mental health conditions.
“It's a sad fact that so many people face these issues and while we welcome the government's bold new commitment to tackling and preventing depression we would urge people who need guidance and support now not to wait for any further announcements but to find out what is available now.
“Depression and other mental health issues affect the most vulnerable in society disproportionally and this imbalance needs to be addressed. EPP CIC can help - New Beginnings is aimed at helping people living with mental health conditions by enabling them to manage and adapt to the problems they may encounter in daily life, it's free and local and available now.

“Group sessions can be a great help, and by speaking to an organisation such as EPP CIC you are taking the first step to tackling the issue and gaining control - anti-depressants are not the only way to tackle depression.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

South West London and St George's Mental Health Trust