More help needed for mental health

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A Long Eaton man has backed a charity’s call for people with mental health problems to be put on a specialist back-to-work programme.

Mental health charity Mind is calling for people with mental health problems to be taken off mainstream Government back-to-work schemes.

It claims research has found that support provided through the Work Programme and Jobcentre Plus is damaging people’s health and making them feel less able to work than when they started.

Richard, 45 from Long Eaton, has experienced mental health problems since he was a teenager.

He said: “I went to the programme with an open mind and hoped they would be able to help, but was appalled by the service I received.

“They didn’t know anything about me or my mental health and rather than find this out, did a generic tick box assessment. The advisors had little knowledge about mental health and even the specialist knew little more than the others.

“Initially I was seeing someone different every time which was difficult. Just going to the office was stressful, as it was a very busy and loud environment. The whole experiencing was very alienating.

“While on the Work Programme I was hospitalised due to an overdose. I was so petrified they wouldn’t believe me or that the information would get lost and I would be sanctioned that I turned up to my appointment a couple of days later anyway.”

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said: “Mind are overlooking the fact that previous jobs schemes simply didn’t do enough for people with mental health conditions.

“Everyone is different and so the Work Programme looks at an individual’s barriers to work and tailors the support specific to their needs.”