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Karen Steadman

The Work Foundation welcomes the creation of the 'task and finish' group

Authors: Karen Steadman Karen Steadman

29 October 2013

Commenting on today’s announcement by Paul Burstow MP and Sane that a ‘task and finish’ group has been created to better support people with schizophrenia to enter and remain in work, Karen Steadman, researcher at The Work Foundation, said:


“We welcome the creation of the ‘task and finish’ group, led by Paul Burstow MP and Sane, which highlights the difficulties people with schizophrenia face in both finding and remaining in work.  The employment rate for people living with schizophrenia is estimated at between 5-15%, compared to a national average of 71%. We know from our recent report, Working with Schizophrenia: Pathways to Employment, Recovery & Inclusion’, that health professionals have an important role to play in improving employment outcomes. They are able to encourage and support those who want to work to do so, and refer individuals to services which have been proven to be able to support people with severe mental health conditions into employment.


“Although evidence-based services for helping people with severe mental health conditions such as schizophrenia exist, access is currently poor. Therefore commissioners must also back evidence based services, such as Individual Placement and Support, which are repeatedly improving employment outcomes for this group.


She added: “Our research also found that stigma and self-stigma, about what having schizophrenia means for an individual, is one of the biggest barriers to employment. Worryingly, we identified that this can be driven by the attitudes of health professionals themselves, who might doubt an individuals ability and desire to work, or are concerned that working may hinder their recovery. Yet we know from our findings that employment can actually help recovery, improving self-worth and inclusion, and that with the right support individuals living with schizophrenia can remain productive members of teams.


“We hope to see changes in policy which will encourage health care professionals to seriously consider work as a health outcome when making care and treatment decisions. The Work Foundation will continue to produce and highlight evidence to improve support services for people with schizophrenia to enter or remain in work. This is key to our ’25 in 10’ campaign which aims to increase the employment rates for people with schizophrenia to 25% within a decade.”


Notes to editors

  1. Karen Steadman is available for interviews, comment and briefings.

  1. The Work Foundation aims to be the leading independent, international authority on work and its future, influencing policy and practice for the benefit of society. The Work Foundation is part of Lancaster University – an alliance that enables both organisations to further enhance their impact.

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