Jobs action call for people with mental health problems
People with mental illnesses in Sunderland are facing an uphill battle to find jobs, new figures suggest.
Mental health charity Mind has called for more to be done to combat a striking national employment gap - saying hundreds of thousands of people with long term mental health conditions fall out of employment – many due to a lack of appropriate support.
NHS Digital data shows that in March, the employment rate in Sunderland’s working age population was roughly 67% – but just 43% for those who were mentally ill.
That employment gap has narrowed slightly since the year before, when 40% of people with a mental illness were in employment, compared to 73% of the general population.
Nationally, just 51% of people with a mental illness were employed in March, compared to 75% of the working age population.
Vicky Nash, Mind's head of policy, campaigns and public affairs, said: "People with mental health problems can thrive and make a valuable contribution to the workplace, but some staff will need additional support to reach their full potential.
"All too often a lack of understanding about employers’ legal duties under the Equality Act 2010 means that many disabled staff – including those with mental health problems – aren’t given the reasonable adjustments they need to excel in their roles.”
Mind is calling for employers to become legally obliged to monitor and reduce health-related pay gaps.
A Government spokesman said: “We understand those with mental health conditions may need different kinds of support and we offer specialist programmes paired with personal support from our Work Coaches and Disability Employment Advisors."