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Online mental health resource launches with guidance on returning to work


The Royal College of Psychiatrists has launched a new online resource offering information and guidance about returning to work after a period of mental ill-health.

The Work and Mental Health website is divided into four main parts, and is aimed at workers, carers, employers and clinicians. Each section signposts relevant information and provides useful links to resources from other organisations.

The website explains how work can be good for people's mental health and well-being - and can play a positive part in people's recovery. It shows how employers may provide effective support at work for people with a history of mental ill-health, and how clinicians can support people returning to work.

The website has been developed by a multi-professional working group, including psychiatrists, occupational health clinicians, GPs, nurses, psychologists, HR professionals, and mental health service users.

Jed Boardman, the Royal College of Psychiatrists' lead for social inclusion, said: "The development of this website has given us a wonderful opportunity to stress the importance of work for people with mental health problems. Work provides more than a wage; it is a significant part of a person's identity and provides a means of participation in broader society. This new website not only provides a new information resource for people with mental health problems, clinicians and employers, but also stresses the importance of collaboration between these key groups of people and the potential benefits for all."

Paul Litchfield, BT group chief medical officer and chair of the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, added: "Mental health problems represent the most common cause of extended sickness absence for people of working age in the UK. The workplace, work colleagues and work itself can all be important factors in either facilitating or impeding recovery.

"In most cases simple measures can make the difference between doing good and doing harm but many workers, managers and healthcare professionals do not know what to do. This online resource is therefore an important element in improving knowledge about mental health at work, and in contributing to a healthier and more productive workforce."

The resource was developed in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform said: "We know that work is good for people's mental health and this guidance will be a valuable resource for workers, employers and clinicians alike, who all have a role to play in supporting people back to work after a period of mental ill-health."