People living with severe mental illness need more support and care to join workforce

10 November 2022

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today released data looking at the number of people out of work due to long-term sickness, revealing a sharp rise in the number of people not working due to mental illness.

Brian Dow, Deputy Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness, said:

“Both the government and employers need to urgently wake up to the untapped potential of people severely affected by mental illness who do not receive the support and care they need to thrive due to ill health, which prevents them from joining the workforce. This has been an ever-present issue but one that is now getting worse, as clearly highlighted by the ONS statistics released today. It’s also deeply concerning to see an increase in the number of young people unable to work due to mental illness at the start of their working lives.

“We need to reframe this from being a problem to an opportunity to improve people’s lives, by providing the right support to help them into work and contribute to the economy in a way that suits them. One way to do this is to improve access to Individual Placement and Support (IPS) services which can help people find and retain employment to help them both improve their income and enhance their overall sense of purpose and wellbeing. Ensuring people can access this support will not only help them overcome the barriers to work, but help them to stay in work and enjoy the benefits that can bring to their lives.”