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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Alyssa Milton
  • Nicholas Parsons
  • Nicola Morant
  • Eleanor Gilbert
  • Sonia Johnson
  • And 4 others
  • Adrian Fisher
  • Swaran Singh
  • Di Cunliffe
  • Steven Marwaha

Colleges, School and Institutes


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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