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Firms urged to help mentally ill

Employers are far less likely to employ people with mental illnesses than those with physical ailments, a report shows.

Just 20% of those with severe mental health problems have jobs, compared with 65% who have physical problems.

The government is launching an initiative urging employers to improve conditions for people with a mental health problem.

A spokesman for the Confederation of British Industry said the majority of businesses offered staff support.

Employers, especially small firms, need more support and advice in helping employees with mental ill health Confederation of British Industry spokesman

It is estimated one in four people will suffer a mental illness at some point in their lives.

And even for those with more common types of mental illness, such as depression, only about half are competitively employed.

However, up to 90% of people with mental health problems want to work, compared to 52% of disabled people generally.

The voluntary standards, launched to coincide with World Mental Health Day, will also be used by public sector organisations, including local councils, government departments and hospitals.

The Disability Discrimination Act, which comes into force this December will require these bodies to end unlawful discrimination and promote equality of opportunity.

Barriers

Health minister Rosie Winterton said: "Ignorance and stigma still surround the issue of mental ill-health and when someone does develop a problem, they often ... continue > 


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Published: 10 October 2006      Ref: BBC News

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