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Mental Health and Work: Sweden

image of Mental Health and Work: Sweden
Tackling mental ill-health of the working-age population is becoming a key issue for labour market and social policies in OECD countries. OECD governments increasingly recognise that policy has a major role to play in keeping people with mental ill-health in employment or bringing those outside of the labour market back to it, and in preventing mental illness. This report on Sweden is the second in a series of reports looking at how the broader education, health, social and labour market policy challenges identified in Sick on the Job? Myths and Realities about Mental Health and Work (OECD, 2012) are being tackled in a number of OECD countries. It concludes that Swedish policy makers recognise the need to take steps to tackle mental ill-health and its labour market implications, but that a more comprehensive reform effort and a long-term commitment to it is needed in order to prevent problems from arising in the first place and respond more effectively when they do occur.

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Assessment and recommendations

Mental ill-health is a fast-growing problem which costs the Swedish economy more than EUR 7 billion every year through lost productivity, social benefits and healthcare. With mental ill-health accounting for 60% of all new disability claims, it has become the leading cause of labour market exclusion among the working-age population in Sweden; and especially among young people. People with mental disorders are poorly integrated in the labour market. Many of those who are employed struggle in their jobs and those who become unemployed receive inadequate support and have poor chances of reintegrating in the labour market.

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