Help for nine out of ten

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A service that provides in-work support for people with mental health conditions has helped nine out of 10 clients stay in employment since it was introduced 18 months ago, Remploy has revealed.

The figures were released ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May), an annual campaign run by the Mental Health Foundation to promote awareness of mental health issues.

Remploy, the UK’s leading provider of specialist employment support for people with disabilities and health conditions, was awarded contracts to run the Government’s flagship workplace mental health support service (WMHSS) in Britain in December 2011. Since then its specialist vocational rehabilitation team has worked with hundreds of clients who were potentially at risk of losing their jobs because of their health condition. Almost 400 people have completed the scheme and 90 per cent are still in work.

It is estimated that up to a quarter of the workforce in Britain has a mental health condition at any one time, resulting in about 70 million working days lost every year. On top of that, the cost of staff turnover as a result of employees leaving their jobs because of mental ill health is thought to be about £2.4bn.

Providing six months’ support, WMHSS – part of the Government’s Access to Work scheme to provide practical in-work support to disabled people – is impartial and confidential; comes at no cost to either employer or employee; can be delivered with or without the support of the employer; and is delivered by experts who understand mental health and its impact in the workplace.

It includes provision of a personalised action plan and exit report, assessment of an individual’s needs and help identifying reasonable adjustments in the workplace or changes to working practice.

Susannah Robertson from Remploy’s Vocational Rehabilitation team said: “It’s very encouraging to see the high success rate achieved so far, particularly ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week. I’m also encouraged by a significant increase in the number of referrals over recent months.

“WMHSS helps employees manage their condition at work and stay well and productive. It also helps employers to reduce costs, improve commitment and satisfaction amongst employees, while creating an inclusive and diverse workforce.”