Employment can have a positive effect on mental health problems, it has been suggested.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, said that having a job can help an individual to develop structure and purpose in their life.
They often see their self confidence boosted by gaining employment, he added.
However, he added that a number of employers are not very understanding about the problems associated with mental health.
He explained that it is normally the case that an individual returning to work after mental health issues is no different to an individual returning after physical health problems.
They just need "an acclimatisation period" and a number of small adjustments to help them back into the world of work.
The comments follow the publication of Action Mental Health's manifesto for the 2011 Assembly elections in the Long Gallery at Stormont.
The document aims to encourage mental health awareness by asking the public sector to "lead by example" and start to tackle the stigma associated with the issue.
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Private mental health treatment news: 15 February 2011