Fitter Minds, Fitter Jobs

From Awareness to Change in Integrated Mental Health, Skills and Work Policies

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A series of reviews of mental health and work policies in selected OECD countries revealed the challenge of mental health for social and labour market outcomes and policies and the high costs of the continued stigmatisation of mental health for individuals, employers and societies. To better respond to this challenge, in early 2016 health and employment ministers from the 38 OECD countries endorsed a Recommendation of the Council on Integrated Mental Health, Skills, and Work Policy. The Recommendation asked for a holistic mental-health-in-all-policies approach, with particular attention to a timely and integrated delivery of services and the involvement of frontline actors.

Five years later, it is time to assess progress achieved in the policy areas covered by the Recommendation (health policy, youth policy, workplace policy, and welfare policy). This report complements a legal document prepared by the OECD on the implementation of the Recommendation five years after its adoption, and adds quantitative evidence to it as well as considerations about the implications of the experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic on future versions of the Recommendation. Policy is in flux in most countries but much more will have to be done to implement the principles and fulfil the promises of the Recommendation.



COVID‑19 brought an unprecedented health crisis which quickly turned into a broader economic, labour market and social crisis. These uncertain circumstances led to a surge in the prevalence of mental distress, anxiety, and depression across OECD countries, and especially for young people and for adults facing job and income losses. The sizeable impact of the crisis on population mental health has placed a spotlight on a long neglected issue, and triggered a belated yet much-needed discussion both among the public and policy makers on how to protect and promote mental health.


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