employedThe Work Programme, the government’s flagship back-to-work-scheme, fails people with mental health problems, a charity has claimed.

Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions show that less than 1 in 10 people with mental health problems have been helped into sustained employment through the Work Programme.

In all, 168,730 people with mental health problems have been attached to the Work Programme. Of those, only 16,090 (9.5%) have gained employment.

Tom Pollard, policy and campaigns manager at Mind has hit out at these figures: “After almost five years of the Work Programme it is clear that it has been a failure in terms of helping people with mental health problems into jobs,” he said. “On top of this, many people find that being forced into undertaking inappropriate tasks under the constant threat of having their benefits cut is making them feel more unwell and less able to work.

“We support the Government’s aspiration of helping more people with mental health problems into work, but their current approach is fundamentally flawed – causing a huge amount of distress without achieving results. The new Work and Health Programme, announced in the Spending Review, needs to represent a complete overhaul, offering more specialist, personalised and local schemes, which make people feel supported rather than threatened.

“We hope that the Government will work closely with organisations such as Mind to make sure the new programme better supports people with mental health problems and other disabilities.”