Rethink Mental Illness responds to government's Back to Work Plan

16 November 2023

The government today published a plan to 'help up to 1,100,000 people with long-term health conditions, disabilities or long-term unemployment to look for and stay in work.' 

Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness, said:

“People living with mental illness can work with the right support, when they feel ready to do so, bringing positive benefits to their mental health and opening up a world of opportunities. Talking therapies and IPS employment services can play a crucial role in supporting people experiencing mental illness back into work, and we’re very encouraged to see plans and investment to expand this support. However, the government can’t give with one hand and take with the other. We’re very concerned that this additional support will be undermined by the other policies proposed: namely more intensive conditions forcing people to look for work before they are ready, which will likely cause severe distress and financial hardship that will put people back in their recovery. The potential changes to Work Capability Assessments on the horizon are already creating uncertainty and anxiety. It’s essential that policy changes are based on the insights of people with lived experience of mental illness, with the ultimate aim of preventing harm, not causing it.”