Work in progress campaign
We have launched a UK-wide campaign “Work in Progress” aimed at improving the employment outcomes of people with depression.
With 1 in every 6 people of working age experiencing a common mental health condition such as depression at any one time, and with more than a third of people with mild to moderate mental health problems currently unemployed, the campaign seeks to raise awareness of the challenges to employment faced by millions of people with depression and to drive policy initiatives that support improved outcomes across the UK. It is being supported by Lundbeck Ltd.
The “Work in Progress” campaign focusses on three key policy areas:
- Improving access to job retention support
- Enhancing understanding and recognition of the symptoms of depression
- Promoting the concept of employment as a health outcome
Evidence shows that employment can be hugely beneficial to the health and wellbeing of people with depression. Beyond providing income, work offers structure, focus and a social environment that can support self-fulfilment and provide an important sense of achievement. We call on government departments at a national and regional level to work together to drive this agenda forward, and commit to improving the provision of evidence-based support to help people with depression achieve vocational outcomes.
The challenges we face
Depression is amongst the largest causes of workplace absenteeism in the UK. Since 2009, the number of working days lost to stress, depression and anxiety has increased by 23 per cent and now account for over 15 million sick days per year. Despite employer’s obligations to support mental wellbeing in the workplace, set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act, a lack of understanding and fear of discrimination continues to be a significant barrier for employees with depression.
Unemployment rates for people with a common mental health condition such as depression are double those of the general population in the UK. It is currently the primary reason for claiming health related benefits, accounting for almost 4 out of 10 new claims. Almost half the people receiving Employment and Support Allowance are claiming primarily because of mental health problems and approximately 1 in every 3 disability claimants are affected by some form of mental health condition.
Depression is the third most common reason for GP consultations in the UK. However, there continues to be a significant disconnect between employment services and healthcare professionals which is a major reason why more has not been achieved in supporting those with depression into employment. The estimated cost of services for depression in England, including lost employment, is projected to reach £12.2 billion by 2026.
NICE have published their guidance on “Workplace policy and management practices to improve the health and wellbeing of employees” [opens in a new window]
Read the 2016 Work in Progress report: "Improving Outcomes for people with Depression".