diversityA lack of understanding among employers is making it difficult for people with schizophrenia to get jobs.

This is the conclusion of a report published yesterday (February 11th) by the Work Foundation, which shows there is still stigma associated with mental health issues and employment. Only eight per cent of individuals with schizophrenia have a job, compared to the national average of 71 per cent.

Because of this, tens of thousands of UK adults are needlessly being prevented from finding or keeping jobs and therefore creating an inclusive workplace.

People with schizophrenia in paid employment are over five times more likely to achieve functional remission than individuals who remain unemployed and this highlights how there are wellbeing benefits associated with helping them find work.

On top of this, 70 per cent of those living with the condition feel they experience discrimination when trying to find a job, which can affect motivation to work in the long run.

Charles Walker, Conservative MP for Broxbourne, said: “The report focuses our attention on the true nature of the barriers to work for people with schizophrenia and how they might be overcome. For many people with the condition, having a job can mean a great deal, both economically and socially.”

He added the issue is one that all MPs should be taking seriously, as there are a number of very effective policies in place that need to be used, such as the Individual Placement and Support service.

Mr Walker stated funding for people living with schizophrenia has to remain so they can continue to access the workplace.

Professor Stephen Bevan, director of the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness at The Work Foundation, has called on the government to prioritise the Health and Work Assessment and Advisory Service.

He also wants to see employment rates for people with schizophrenia boosted by 25 per cent within ten years. In order to coordinate such a target, Professor Bevan thinks a national plan needs to be introduced.