Oct 9, 2021
'Work has been therapy for my mental health'
People living with a severe mental illness are very likely to be out of work - the employment rate for the group is thought to be as low as 7%. A pioneering approach is meant to change that but the NHS rollout has been slower than planned, at least in part because of Covid. An estimated 280,000 people in the UK are living with a severe mental illness, defined as a psychological problem so debilitating that it severely impairs their everyday activities. Y Bell, deputy chief executive at the Centre for Mental Health, an independent think tank, said: "It's not for everybody, but for many, many people getting into paid work is part of their recovery while living with mental illness."The evidence shows it can bring about major improvements in both mental and physical health. In the past, many people with severe mental illness were often deliberately shielded from paid jobs, and instead offered volunteering or part-time charity work. "Our target to have 55,000 people supported every year by 2024 is really ambitious. But speaking as a mental health nurse of many years, I know the importance of supporting people back to work as part of their therapeutic choice."
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