HEALTH experts are trying to raise awareness of the help they can offer in a bid to increase employment among the mentally ill.
The Mental Health and Well-being Service, a branch of Ealing Primary Care Trust, launched a Back to Work Campaign on Tuesday.
With the borough having the fifth highest number in the capital of people claiming benefit, and having one of the highest numbers of disabled or sick claimants in west London, organisers hope informing residents will make a real difference.
Baljeet Ruprah-Shah, head of the service which has been running for about three years, said: "We look at people as a whole.
"Yes, they may have mental health problems, but there may also be a whole load of other issues which exacerbate them or caused the mental health problems in the first place, from difficulties living as a refugee to problems finding education for their children.
"For example, if they have depression because they are obese we can teach them to cook healthy meals, organise exercise sessions and help them feel better about themselves."
The service has teamed up with Twining, a social enterprise which specialises in helping the mentally ill find or stay in work, including careers advice, CV writing and managing stress.
The campaign was launched at Ealing Town Hall and attended by health bosses, Ealing Council and businesses in the borough. Speakers included people who had overcome mental health problems to build successful careers.
Ms Ruprah-Shah added: "Most people spend eight hours or more at work so how they feel in their job can make a big difference to how they feel about themselves.
"But as well as employees, we want employers to realise we are here and how we can support them and their workers, to help everyone be at their most productive which helps every-body. We want to reduce the stigma surrounding people with mental health problems."
To find out more about the Mental Health and Well-being Service call 020 3313 5661, or to refer yourself email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3313 5660.