Mental health co-ordinators are to be based in jobcentres under plans for a “radical overhaul” of support for people with mental health conditions.
Dedicated advice lines for small businesses will also be launched under moves aimed at improving job opportunities as part of a new mental health and employment strategy.
The advice lines will give small firms support to keep people in work when health issues arise, offering direct access to occupational health professionals, said ministers.
The announcement followed a review led by Rachel Perkins, a specialist on mental health issues, on how to improve support for people who were out of work and had mental health conditions.
Dr Perkins, who works for West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust, said: “People with mental health conditions remain among the most excluded within our society, particularly in the workplace.
“We know that work improves mental health and wellbeing and most people with a mental health condition would like to be in work and pursue a career.”
Work and pensions secretary Yvette Cooper said: “The vast majority of people with mental health conditions work, but for some people it can be very hard to stay in a job.
“If people fall out of work and onto benefits it is even harder for them to get back into work as it can be a real knock to their confidence. We know that work is good for people and that’s why we want to give everyone the support they need to stay in a job, or get back to work.”