Mental health charity Mind has called for more to be done to combat a striking national employment gap - saying hundreds of thousands of people with long term mental health conditions fall out of employment – many due to a lack of appropriate support.
NHS Digital data shows that in March, the employment rate in Northumberland's working age population was roughly 68% – but just 49% for those who were mentally ill.
That employment gap has narrowed slightly since the year before, when 54% of people with a mental illness were in employment, compared to 77% of the general population.
Nationally, just 51% of people with a mental illness were employed in March, compared to 75% of the working age population.
Vicky Nash, Mind's head of policy, campaigns and public affairs, said: "People with mental health problems can thrive and make a valuable contribution to the workplace, but some staff will need additional support to reach their full potential.
"All too often a lack of understanding about employers’ legal duties under the Equality Act 2010 means that many disabled staff – including those with mental health problems – aren’t given the reasonable adjustments they need to excel in their roles.”
Mind is calling for employers to become legally obliged to monitor and reduce health-related pay gaps.
A Government spokesman said: “We understand those with mental health conditions may need different kinds of support and we offer specialist programmes paired with personal support from our Work Coaches and Disability Employment Advisors."