Insurance · 16 February 2016

David Cameron pledges £1bn to help workers with mental illness return to work

mental illness work
The Mental Health Taskforce is looking at how to improve employment rates for those with mental health conditions

The prime minister has announced plans to help one million people with mental health conditions return to the workplace, following the publication of a new report from the independent Mental Health Taskforce highlighting the importance of employment in helping people overcome such problems.

David Cameron said: “Mental health is a major problem in our country and it must be properly addressed. By providing this extra £1bn a year for mental health care we will make sure it gets the attention in the NHS it needs. But I want to go even further and end the status quo that sees more than half of people with mental health conditions unable to find a job – ensuring tens of thousands are able to find or return to work over the next five years.”

At present, only 43 per cent of people with mental health conditions are in work compared to four fifths of the general population. The Mental Health Taskforce has consulted senior figures from large corporations including Royal Mail, Barclays and BT on how to improve employment rates for those with mental health conditions – and the issue was recently discussed in parliament:

Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene said: “Creating a culture where all employees feel able to talk about their wellbeing, and where managers feel empowered to play a role in helping to support those around them, is vital for a competitive and sustainable business.

“One of the biggest responsibilities lies with business leaders, who have a duty to promote the importance of wellbeing right from the very top and create a positive and accepting environment that encourages people to discuss mental health issues and seek support.”

Additional research carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in 2011 revealed that the employees of small firms were most likely to feel that people with mental illness were “very well supported” by their organisation, and also felt more able to talk about such conditions than people working for larger companies did.

Some 55 per cent of micro business employees would be confident divulging a mental health problem, compared to 43 per cent of those workers in large businesses, according to the survey.

If you’re worried about workplace stress, don’t miss this guide to reducing it from our health expert Nicola Green.

David Cameron has focused on large companies in this review but we want to know what you think, so get in touch and let us know what your micro firm is doing around mental illness and workplace stress.

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.



Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.