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Mental Health and Work: United Kingdom

image of Mental Health and Work: United Kingdom

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 the United Kingdom is the sixth 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.

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Achieving higher labour market participation in the United Kingdom

The role of the welfare system

This chapter takes stock of the recent major reforms to the UK disability benefit scheme (now known as the Employment and Support Allowance) and addresses the challenges that remain including i) paying more attention to mental ill-health, ii) providing support that addresses both employment and health-related barriers; and iii) balancing rights and responsibilities. It also examines the employment support provisions delivered to disability and unemployment beneficiaries via the new contracted Work Programme; the incentives of providers to prioritise claimants with health problems; and more generally the ability of the system to deal with mental health issues in view of the high prevalence of mental illness among benefit recipients, including recipients of Jobseeker’s Allowance.

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