BJPsych Bulletin
Unemployment rates among patients with long-term mental health problems
A decade of rising unemployment
Rachel Perkins, Miles Rinaldi

Abstract

AIMS AND METHOD

To examine the vocational status of people with longer-term mental health problems in the inner London Borough of Wandsworth. Data collected over 10 years on 1 April each year as part of an annual census of adults with longer-term mental health problems using community mental health and rehabilitation teams were analysed to examine the vocational status of these groups.

RESULTS

Within the borough unemployment rates among people with longer-term mental health problems increased steadily during the 1990s, despite a decreasing rate of general unemployment for the majority of that period. Unemployment among people with long-term mental health problems increased from 80% in 1990 to 92% in 1999, and the unemployment rates among those with a diagnosis of schizophrenia increased from 88% in 1990 to 96% in 1999.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS

Work and employment is important in health as well as social functioning. Greater attention to vocational issues in clinical teams is required: the challenge for mental health services is to make employment interventions of demonstrated effectiveness available to all who need them.

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