The Government’s green paper on health and work could and should bring about a new start in the way people with mental health problems are helped to get and keep work, Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sean Duggan said today.

Sean Duggan said: “We welcome the Government’s commitment to halve the disability employment gap and give better support to people with mental health problems who want help with work. The current system is not working. The Work Capability Assessment is a poor way of assessing the needs of someone with a mental health condition. The Work Programme and WorkChoice have offered little effective help to people with mental health problems. And the use of conditions and benefit sanctions has disadvantaged too many without evidence that they help people with mental health problems to find work.

“We need to create a new system built on the evidence of what works and what people find helpful. It should be centred on the principles of Individual Placement and Support, which means no exclusions and no mandation. We need to ensure that people get the financial and practical help they are entitled to, including accurate advice on benefits. And we need to ensure that health and employment services work together around a person’s needs, wishes and abilities.

“Today’s green paper needs to be the start of a new conversation about health and work in the UK, and to lead to whole system change to improve people’s lives nationwide.”