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Pilots launched to help benefits claimants with mental health issues into work

Three different pilot schemes have been launched by the Government to find the best ways to help benefits claimants who have mental health issues get back into work.

One will provide 'talking therapies', as well as psychological and employment support for ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) claimants.

Participants will be referred for tailored support, such as help with job applications, interviews and how to cope with rejections.

Another pilot helps jobseekers get over setbacks when looking for work, and identify recurring difficulties. Through intensive group work, participants can hope to improve job-hunting skills and motivation.

The final pilot will find out if telephone-based psychological and employment-related support can improve wellbeing and employment outcomes. It will aim to remove barriers to finding work and aid job-searching.

Employers called on to help

Some 46 per cent of ESA claimants - an estimated 260,000 people - have mental health issues, according to official figures.

Estimates suggest that the state spends up to £1.4 billion a year, more than £3.5 million per day, on these claimants.

Currently only 37 per cent of the population at large with mental health issues are in work, with the wider cost to the economy put at between £30 billion and £40 billion each year, according to Government figures.

Commentators said that employers needed to be better about taking on people with mental health problems, be prepared to make adjustments to help them stay on, and promote positive mental health among all staff.

Acas publications and services

Acas has published the pdf icon Promoting positive mental health in the workplace [386kb], which aims to help employers tackle the stigma surrounding mental health. It also sets out practical measures to improve wellbeing, and to build supportive working environments.

Acas can help you review your health and wellbeing arrangements and find ways to reduce organisational stress. See Stress: how Acas can help for more details.

Practical Acas training is also available on Mental Health Awareness for Employers, Stress, Absence management and essential Skills for supervisors training courses

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.


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