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£12m more for mental health back-to-work ‘trailblazer’ pilots

The government is to invest a further £12m in four pilot ‘trailblazer’ schemes that are testing whether better coordinated mental health and employment services could help patients with mental health conditions return to work. 

The schemes, which were previously announced as part of the Growth Deals agreements in July, include Blackpool, Greater Manchester, North East Combined Authority and West London Alliance. 

Each of the pilots are testing a number of different approaches, including the use of key workers and individual support packages to help claimants create bespoke action plans and coordinate existing local support services. 

In addition to this, they are looking at support for new employees to make sure they can stay in work and cope with anxiety and other ongoing problems; and training employment advisers to identify mental health problems and for GPs to recognise the importance of work in improving mental health. 

The deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, said: “It is shocking to think that mental health is now the leading cause of illness in the workplace. It's even more shocking that many of the people suffering are simply not getting the support they need. 

“That’s why I’m working hard in government to bring mental health out of the shadows. I'm heading up a dedicated mental health taskforce and pushing for investment in pilots like this to help create a fairer society where people get the right support and treatment they need, when they need it.” 

However, the latest funding comes only days after mental health campaigners said that government back-to-work schemes are “ineffective” and “damaging” to those with mental health problems

In fact, the charity Mind is calling for people with mental health problems to be taken off government back-to-work schemes and moved onto a specialist programme. 

According to the government the extra £12m investment includes £6m from the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) and £6m match-funding from pilot areas.

PSE has been told that the DCLG will invest a further £1.1m in the North East Combined Authority’s trailblazer project, Blackpool will also receive an additional £1.1m, West London Alliance will get £1.2m and Greater Manchester will be given a further £2.6m. 

Originally, the DCLG was to provide up to £2.6m in 2015-2016 to support the design and delivery of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership trailblazer, subject to a satisfactory business case which included local matched investment. 

In Blackpool, the figure was £1.5m subject to a satisfactory business case which included local matched investment; the North East Combined Authority was to receive up to £1.7m; and the government provided up to £1.2m for the London Alliance pilot. 

(Image: c. David Cheskin/PA Wire/ Press Association Images) 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Catherine   18/12/2014 at 07:10

The money would be better spent addressing the root cause 's of widespread depression, namely, vast inequality, lack of job security, low pay, cold homes, hunger and of course lack of mental heath services. The stigma is already vanishing but professional help remains scarce and being forced to work when you are ill will just lead to greater illness and suicide.keep mental health services planning with the medical professionals not the corporations

DF   18/12/2014 at 08:23

"training employment advisers to identify mental health problems" - is this some kind of joke?

DF   18/12/2014 at 08:24

"training employment advisers to identify mental health problems" - is this some kind of joke?

AM   18/12/2014 at 11:50

..Id like to know what intiative is in place to tackle workplace bullying. This causes untold distress, absenteeism, sickness, mental and physical health issues. Address this, through a law which promotes zero tolerance of this issue, and Im sure we will find productivity goes up, absenteeism and job attritition rates go down

Paul Hassall   19/12/2014 at 00:10

Oh dear, more waste, more expense, more anguish wasted on another crackpot scheme that won't work, the top comment has it spot on!

Bob   20/12/2014 at 22:04

First thing they need to do is outlaw weed. The amount of 'mentally ill' people who admit they have paranoia & panic attacks, then say they smoke weed, is getting to epidemic proportions. Real mentally ill people are not getting the help they need, because of weed.

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