An NHS England pilot programme is supporting 40,000 people with mental health problems back into employment, data has shown.
Through the service, the NHS links patients to employment advisors to offer help writing CVs, setting career goals and encouraging them to apply for vacancies.
Every person accessing NHS Talking Therapies will be offered the chance to benefit from employment advice by March 2025, NHS England said.
It added that employment and mental health are closely link and suggested research indicates that employment support, delivered alongside therapy, can help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
NHS national mental health director, Claire Murdoch, said: ‘People with mental health issues can particularly struggle at this time of year, with dark nights and feeling isolated – but seeking help through an NHS Talking Therapies Service can be one of the best steps someone can take to overcome their mental health issues and get back on track.
‘As part of treating people’s mental illness, the NHS supports people to achieve their goals including getting people back to work with research showing that employment can help improve symptoms of anxiety or depression.’
Minister for mental health Maria Caulfield said: ‘Our ambition is to improve the lives of thousands more people by helping them early on with their mental health and getting them back into work. NHS Talking Therapies are key to this.’
She added: ‘Making sure we have that support available 24/7 for people who need it is crucial not only for people’s wellbeing, but for our economy.
‘This is part of our ongoing work to transform our country’s mental health services, with up to an additional £2.3 billion being invested annually by 2024 to expand services, so an extra 2 million people can get mental health support.’