The clinical profile of employees with mental health problems working in social firms in the UK

Alyssa Milton, Nicholas Parsons, Nicola Morant, Eleanor Gilbert, Sonia Johnson, Adrian Fisher, Swaran Singh, Di Cunliffe, Steven Marwaha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: UK social firms are under-researched but are a potentially important vocational option for people with mental health problems.

AIMS: To describe the clinical profile, satisfaction levels and experiences of social firms employees with mental health problems.

METHOD: Clinical, work and service use characteristics were collected from social firms' employees with mental health problems in England and Wales. Workplace experience and satisfaction were explored qualitatively.

RESULTS: Predominantly, social firms' employees (N = 80) report that they have a diagnosis of depression (56%) and anxiety (41%). People with schizophrenia (20%) or bipolar disorder (5%) were a minority. Respondents had low symptom and disability levels, high quality of life and job satisfaction and experienced reductions in secondary mental health service use over time. High-workplace satisfaction was related to flexibility, manager and colleague support and workplace accommodations.

CONCLUSIONS: The clinical profile, quality of life and job satisfaction level of employees with mental health problems suggest social firms could be a useful addition to UK vocational services for some people. Current employees mainly have common mental disorders, and social firms will need to shift their focus if they are to form a substantial pathway for the vocational recovery of people currently using community mental health teams.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-248
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number4
Early online date23 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • Anxiety/epidemiology
  • Bipolar Disorder/epidemiology
  • Depression/epidemiology
  • Employment/psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders/epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Schizophrenia/epidemiology
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
  • United Kingdom/epidemiology
  • Workplace/psychology
  • Employment
  • mental illness
  • social firms


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