Mind is calling for all people with mental health problems to be taken off mainstream Government back-to-work schemes and moved onto a specialist programme.
Research from the mental health charity has found that support provided through the Work Programme and Jobcentre Plus is damaging people’s health and making them feel less able to work than when they started. At the same time, these schemes are ineffective for people with mental health problems, as only 5 per cent of people have actually been helped into work.
Mind surveyed 439 people who were receiving support primarily because of their mental health. Eighty three per cent said using back-to-work services through the Work Programme and/or Jobcentre Plus had made their mental health worse or much worse, 83 per cent said their self-esteem had got worse or much worse and 82 per cent agreed that their confidence was worse or much worse. So it’s hardly surprising that three quarters (76 per cent) of those polled said they felt less able to work as a result of being on these schemes.
Shockingly, 86 per cent of respondents said they had needed more support from mental health services and/or their GP, and nearly one in four (24 per cent) had been hospitalised or sectioned in a mental health crisis while being on these back-to-work support programmes.
Worryingly, these schemes are even damaging the mental health of individuals who haven’t got a diagnosed mental health problem. We surveyed 200 people who said a mental health problem wasn’t the main reason they needed support. Of these, 81 per cent said it had made their mental health worse, 86 per cent agreed that their self-esteem had become worse, and 86 per cent said their confidence was worse.