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Practice surgeries to support stressed employees

The government is to pilot a new advice and support service for small businesses to help people deal with stress and other mental health conditions at work.

The £8m pilot scheme will treble the number of employment advisers working in GP surgeries, Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain announced today.

These measures underpin the development of the national strategy for mental health and work, led by National Director for health and work, Dame Carol Black.

Peter Hain said: "People suffering from mental health conditions often experience problems in finding and keeping work, and mental ill-health is now the biggest single cause of both absence from work and incapacity benefit claims.

"In fact, around 40% of people currently receiving incapacity benefits are doing so because of mental ill-health.

"Yet we know that being in work is usually good for people with all types of mental health problems, whereas being out of work can lead to an increased likelihood of anxiety and depression and increased use of medication.

"So there is a clear need to support people with mental health conditions to overcome or manage their problems, helping them to find or remain in work."

Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson added: "Each year many people are unnecessarily forced to give up their jobs because of mental health problems, which is a terrible waste of talent for British business and a great loss to the individual.

"This package is designed to help people keep well and in work, which will ultimately save businesses huge amounts in sick leave and contribute to a better quality of life for those who may have otherwise had to give up work."

Department of Health

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