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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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Executive summary

Throughout the OECD, mental ill-health is increasingly recognised as a problem for social and labour market policy; a problem that is creating significant costs for people, employers and the economy at large by lowering employment, raising unemployment and generating productivity losses. The Swedish Government has embarked on various policies and strategies that seek to combat the negative consequences of mental illhealth. Nonetheless, a number of barriers persist, including insufficient resources, lack of awareness and tools to identify and, hence, help those with a mental disorder. Above all, it is important to recognise that problems related to mental ill-health cannot be solved without strong co-ordination between policy areas and institutions. A systematic and sustained effort is required across different government departments (including, Education, Health, Social Insurance and Employment) and workplaces to improve labour market inclusion of people with a mental illness and prevent large social and economic losses incurred by the Swedish society as a whole.

English

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