New report about supporting people with schizophrenia back into the labour market

Successful interview

Back in November 2012, the Schizophrenia Commission reported that people with schizophrenia are being badly let down by the health and social care system and by the employment market. The final report of the commission (I blogged about it here) concluded that people with schizophrenia face a lifespan 15-20 years shorter than the general population and that only 7% are able to hold down a job.

A new report was published yesterday by the Work Foundation that examines the impact of schizophrenia on an individual’s ability to enter or remain in the labour market, outlining how such barriers can be addressed by policymakers, employers, healthcare professionals as well as those with the condition and their carers.

Research has shown that employment schemes such as Individual Placement and Support (IPS) can be effective at helping people with severe mental illness find a job and stay in work. However, these opportunities are not always available and where they are, they are not always delivered to the required standard to be effective.


The report authors conducted a literature review of policy reports investigating mental health and specifically the work situation of people with schizophrenia. They also reviewed clinical, economic
and labour market literature published in a number of peer-reviewed scientific journals.

This was supplemented by a number of telephone interviews with experts in the field, as well as in depth interviews with people with lived experience. The material was brought together using a thematic analysis methodology.

The 130 page report covers:

  • The impact of schizophrenia, including quality of life and work capacity
  • Societal attitudes that aid or prevent employment opportunities
  • Interventions that may help improve labour market participation
  • Policy recommendations

Robin Murray (Chair of The Schizophrenia Commission) introduced the new report by saying that:

It challenges politicians, GPs, psychiatrists, family-members, support workers, employers and people living with schizophrenia themselves to join forces with greater urgency to widen access to the labour market and competitive employment.

The picture of the jobs market, and the way it works against people with severe mental illness in the UK, is not pretty. But the report is ultimately optimistic because it indicates very clearly that the solutions to this problem are known, and that good practice exists.


Bevan S, Gulliford J, Steadman K, Taskila T, Thomas R. Working with schizophrenia: pathways to employment, recovery and inclusion (PDF). The Work Foundation, 11 Feb 2013.

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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