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Fit Mind, Fit Job

From Evidence to Practice in Mental Health and Work

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The costs of mental ill-health for individuals, employers and society at large are enormous. Mental illness is responsible for a very significant loss of potential labour supply, high rates of unemployment, and a high incidence of sickness absence and reduced productivity at work. Following an introductory report (Sick on the Job: Myths and Realities about Mental Health and Work) and nine country reports, this final synthesis report summarizes the findings from the participating countries and makes the case for a stronger policy response.

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Assessment and conclusions - The OECD mental health and work policy framework

Mental health is an important driver of labour market outcomes and thus affects economic growth and future development. In OECD countries, mental ill-health is responsible for between one-third and one-half of all long-term sickness and disability among the working-age population. It causes and exacerbates chronic physical illness, pushing up health care costs. And it lowers education outcomes – partly because those who are ill leave school early – so shutting off employment opportunities. Relatively to the mentally healthy, the employment rate of people who suffer from poor mental health is 15-30 percentage points lower and their unemployment rate is twice as high. They are also twice as likely to live in poor households. In the workplace, employees who suffer from mental ill-health tend to underperform and their low productivity is probably the single biggest cost factor, borne to a large extent by employers.

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