'Employers failing people with long-term depression', study finds

Belinda Liversedge
British Safety Council
18 May 2017
Photograph: iStock / PeopleImages

Less than half (45.5%) of people with depression or anxiety lasting more than 12 months are in work, a new TUC report has said.

The TUC says it suggests that employers are failing to make adequate changes in the workplace to enable people with mental illnesses, anxiety or depression to get a job, or stay in work.

Only 1 in 4 (26.2%) people with a mental illness or phobia lasting for 12 months or more are in work.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s simply not good enough that so few people with long-term mental health problems are able to stay in work.

“Not only is the economy missing out on the skills and talents these workers have, but having to leave your job can worsen your mental health.

“The next government and employers must do more to support people with mental health conditions. Simple steps like giving an employee time off to go to counselling appointments can make a huge difference.”

A mental health condition is considered a disability if it has a long-term effect on a person, defined under the Equality Act 2010 as 'long term' if it lasts, or is likely to last, 12 months.

The government has pledged to halve the disability employment gap by 2020.

But the TUC says the report suggests it will be far off this mark. They estimate it will take until 2025 for those classified in official figures as having long-term depression and anxiety, and until 2029 for people classified as having long-term mental illness.

The Mental health and employment report was published today to coincide with its Disabled Workers’ Conference held from 18 to 19 May at the TUC headquarters in London.

The Conservatives have said they would reform the Equalities Act to give people who are unwell with mental health for less than 12 consecutive months the same protections as people with long term mental health problems. Plans are expected in their Manifesto today.