Controversy Over Back-to-Work Schemes

Campaigners have argued that back-to-work schemes are ‘ineffective and damaging for people with mental health problems’.

Mind (a mental health charity) have suggested that people with mental health problems should be moved away from mainstream programmes and onto specialist schemes.

Mind surveyed 439 people who were supported by the governments Work Programme. These participants are given government support but there are sanctions they face if they fail to comply with some conditions.

Mind reported that 83% of people surveyed said that using the programme and the job centre services made their mental health worse.

The schemes appeared ineffective also with only 5% of people being helped into work.

Paul Farmer, Mind’s Chief Executive had the following to say; "It's perverse that programmes which are supposed to help those who are unwell and struggling to get into work are having the opposite effect, damaging their health”.

From this, the charity has called for a specialist scheme to be introduced by the government. One that doesn’t insist a person attends a CV writing course if they had been out of work with depression or anxiety. Mind argue that this is ‘inappropriate’ and a ‘waste of time and money’.

Some of the current schemes have the potential to cause greater anxiety in some people resulting in an even slimmer chance of them returning to work.

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions defended the scheme; ‘It has already helped thousands of people with mental health conditions into work – instead of just writing people off on sickness benefits as often happened in the past.”