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Mel Stride denied the Government was “demonising” people with mental health problems with its drive to end the UK’s “sick note culture”. 

Sarah Hughes, the chief executive of the charity Mind, said the Government’s rhetoric on the issue was “harmful” and “inaccurate”.

She told The Times: “Demonising people for failures of the systems meant to support them is incredibly unhelpful.”

Asked if Ms Hughes was right in her assessment, Mr Stride, the Work and Pensions Secretary, told Times Radio: “She is not right in the sense that of course we are not out there demonising people, far from it. 

“This Government has been part of a general conversation about mental health in which I think we have arrived broadly at a much better place in many respects.”

Mr Stride said there needed to be a “grown up conversation” about mental health and the workplace as he argued “we are too readily perhaps medicalising or labelling what in the past would have been seen as the general ups and downs of the human condition as something more serious than that”. 

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