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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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Productivity, sustained competitiveness and the Swedish work environment

This chapter looks at the role of employers who are ideally placed to help people already in the workforce to deal with mental health problems and retain their jobs. It first discusses the impact of psychosocial work environment factors on stress and mental health and various workplace practices aimed at preventing mental health problems from arising in the first place. It then looks at job retention responses by employers; additional needs of employers in this regard; and gaps in service provision. Finally, it reviews employer incentives to prevent sickness absence more generally and provision of special support for those with a mental disorder returning to work after a period of sickness absence. The chapter also pays attention to the role of stigma and the potential impact of employment protection legislation on hiring persons with a mental disorder.

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