Mental health must be a public health priority

Shaw Trust logoShaw Trust welcomes the Government’s decision to invest in mental health support.

The Department of Health and the Department for Work and Pensions are jointly funding four pilot schemes aimed at helping unemployed people suffering from mental illness find work.

The pilots will run for six months across England and will cost £2 million. People on Employment and Support Allowance will now get targeted help to find work and overcome the barriers posed by their mental health conditions.

Shaw Trust is committed to supporting people with mental health issues. We support our clients to manage their physical and mental health conditions and return to work.

The Trust primarily supports clients with mental health difficulties through Work Choice. Work Choice is a Government supported employment programme designed specifically for people who, due to their disability, may find it difficult to find or stay in work.

In addition to the Work Choice support we provide, our Condition Management Programme (CMP) explores how our clients’ mental illness or disability affects their daily routine and how they may be able to achieve more in life and return to work by fully understanding and managing their health conditions.

In Suffolk and Kent, we work with the County Councils and NHS Trust link workers to help people with mental health find sustainable work and gain independence. Our Suffolk Wellbeing Service, designed as a prevention rather than recovery service, has achieved success in enabling some of our clients to experience improved emotional wellbeing.

Some of our clients also gain new skills and employment through our social enterprises. In Basingstoke, our horticultural social enterprise project has helped clients with mental health issues gain new skills and find employment in the local community.

Roy O’Shaughnessy, chief executive of Shaw Trust, said:

“One in four people will experience mental ill health in the course of a year. Shaw Trust works to break down prejudice, remove barriers and facilitate productive and fruitful working relationships for both our clients and their employers.”

“The stigma attached to mental illness is a serious problem across all of society that needs to be addressed by policy makers. The Government’s pilot scheme is a positive step forward, but more should be done to break down barriers. Mental illness should be a major public health priority and improvements in mental health support should be driven by local health providers.”

About Shaw Trust:

Shaw Trust is a national employment, learning and skills charity that helps people facing disadvantage into work, gain skills and take control of their futures. Find out more at


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