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Long Term Unemployed People: Mental Health

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 3894, tabled on 19 May 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the effect of long-term unemployment on mental health; and what steps she is taking to support the mental health of people facing (a) redundancy and (b) long-term unemployment in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

Answered on

24 May 2021

The Secretary of State regularly meets with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to discuss health and employment support.

In recognition of the important link between work and health, including mental health, in 2015 we created the joint Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Health and Social Care Work and Health Unit (WHU). This brings the two departments together to pilot new ways of joining up the health and employment systems. The WHU delivers a programme of trials, initiatives and policy development to support disabled people and people with health conditions to remain in and return to work, and to support health and wellbeing in the workplace.

One of the largest initiatives of the joint WHU is providing additional Employment Advisors (EAs) in NHS Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Services. This provides combined psychological treatment and employment support to help clients receiving IAPT treatment for depression and anxiety to remain in, get back to, or find work, including those impacted by changes to the labour market resulting from COVID-19. This initiative is currently running in 40% of Clinical Commissioning Groups in England, including the Coventry and Warwickshire CCG.

Large scale trials in the West Midlands and Sheffield City Region have been testing the internationally-recognised Individual Placement and Support approach to employment support in a health setting for people with common mental health and/or physical health conditions.

Nationally, DWP has developed and implemented mental health guidance and training for its frontline staff across the nation. To support vulnerable customers, DWP has created a national network of senior leaders who will liaise locally with authorities who have safeguarding responsibilities to identify individuals who may need extra support. National employment programmes, including the Work and Health Programme and the Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme, provide specialist employment support to individuals. The Access to Work Mental Health Service also provides a package of tailored support and advice for up to nine months and can provide coping strategies, a step-by-step support plan, advice on adjustments and support for employers to enable them to fully understand the person’s condition.

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