Government called on to fight workplace mental health discrimination
A mental health charity has called on the government to target discrimination which it claims stops people with severe mental health problems from finding work.
Rethink claimed that people with a mental health illness were more likely to want to work than those on benefits with a physical health problem, but that less than 40 per cent of employers say they would employ someone with a mental illness
Meanwhile, new figures show that 1.1 million people are now living on incapacity benefit as a result of mental disorders and behavioural problems, the charity said.
Chief executive of Rethink Paul Jenkins said: "Rethink is playing its part in changing attitudes by running an anti-stigma campaign in Northern Ireland this month.
"The government must now invest in a similar, large-scale campaign to address the three biggest mental health problems: prejudice, ignorance and fear."
Commenting on the Welfare Reform Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, Mr Jenkins said that the charity welcomed the government's decision to assess mental and physical health needs together when deciding what benefits people are entitled to.
However, people will be penalised if they don't take work and "are being asked to go through a locked door", he added.