Conor D’Arcy, Head of Research and Policy, Money and Mental Health Policy Institute

Untapped potential: Reducing economic inactivity among people with mental health problems

13 March 2023

This policy note calls for a cross-government plan to support more people with mental health problems to find and remain in work that meets their needs. 

With economic inactivity remaining above pre-pandemic levels, poor mental health is now a common cause of economic inactivity.

Failure by policy-makers to understand and respond to the needs of people with mental health problems is a recipe for lower employment rates, lower earnings, lower tax receipts and higher benefit expenditure.

That’s why we are recommending reforms to the benefit system so it better reflects the challenges that people with mental health problems face, and so that it provides more specialist support to access employment.

We are also recommending that workers’ rights be strengthened by increasing sick pay, ensuring more people can access it and introducing the right to flexible working hours for all workers.

Finally, we want to see more joined up support between the healthcare system and employment services, to ensure people receiving mental health care can get help to find and retain work.