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BOOKS

Fit Mind, Fit Job: From Evidence to Practice in Mental Health and Work


The costs of mental ill-health for individuals, employers and society at large are enormous. Mental illness is responsible for a very significant loss of potential labour supply, high rates of unemployment, and a high incidence of sickness absence and reduced productivity at work. The report says that around 30% to 40% of all sickness and disability caseloads in OECD countries are related to mental-health problems.
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Fit Mind, Fit Job: From Evidence to Practice in Mental Health and Work
 Following an introductory report (Sick on the Job: Myths and Realities about Mental Health and Work) and nine country reports, this final synthesis report summarizes the findings from the participating countries and makes the case for a stronger policy response.

The personal costs of mental ill-health are high. People with mild to moderate disorders, such as anxiety or depression, are twice as likely to become unemployed. They also run a much higher risk of living in poverty and social marginalisation.

Despite growing recognition of the issue in society, considerable social stigma around mental ill health remains. Intervening early is critical, yet in practice it can often take more than ten years between the onset of illness and the first treatment in most countries.


This is worrying, says the OECD, as under‑treatment rates are highest among young people and waiting times for counselling are longest. Any action taken in school or the workplace will have a better, more lasting impact than waiting until people have dropped out of education or the labour market. While a heavy workload and work related stress may add to mental health problems, the evidence shows that staying in school or at work is also part of the solution if appropriate support is provided.

At school, investing in mental health programmes and having professionals with psychological training is found to be effective. Waiting times in the health service for children and adolescents should be as short as possible.

The mismatch between the needs of people suffering from mental ill-health and the services provided to them is one of the biggest problems, according to the report. Current policies are often delivered in silos by health, employment and education services. Creating an integrated system would deliver much better, faster outcomes.

Countries have taken small steps towards an integrated delivery of health and employment services, but they have lacked direction. Better measurement and monitoring of policies and outcomes would enable policy makers to assess their impact more effectively.

Teachers, employers, general practitioners, social workers and employment service caseworkers are often best placed to identify people with mental health issues at an early stage. They need training and a clear pathway to access support from mental health professionals.

Stronger leadership at political and managerial level is needed: in most countries, guidelines and regulations exist but have little impact. Their use should be systematically monitored and non-compliance sanctioned.

An overview of the report is available at http://www.oecd.org/employment/fit-mind-fit-job-9789264228283-en.htm. 

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Books
"Tthe study of human behaviour was political from the beginning"
The EU "An Obituary"
Startup Cities "Why Only a Few Cities Dominate the Global Startup Scene"
Blockchain Revolution "How the Technology Behind Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Is Changing the World "
Doughnut Economics "Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist "
The People vs Tech "How the Internet Is Killing Democracy"
Theses and dissertations
1 What are we waiting to boost, link financial / digital education and improve information?
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