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Work, welfare reform and mental health

Lead by: Karen Glaser and Ben Baumberg Geiger

This programme investigates the impact of welfare reforms implemented in the UK since 2010, and the radically changing forms of work and employment practices on our society’s mental health.

There is growing evidence that the increase in insecure employment - zero-hours contracts and the gig economy - has negative effects on mental health. There is also evidence that welfare reforms over the last decade, in the UK and many other countries, have badly affected mental health for many individuals and families, especially for those who are already living in adversity. There are however other welfare provisions, such as free public transport, and the more generous maternity and paternity leave, that have had beneficial effects on mental health over the medium and long term.

We look to identify the mental health impacts of alternative welfare programmes that could be adopted in the UK and propose recommendations for employment regimes that can support mental health within, and outside, the workplace.


If you would like more information about this programme, please do get in touch

New evidence review on precarious employment and mental health

Precarious employment is a term used to describe work that is insecure, low paid or hazardous. To inform our programme of research on work, welfare reform and mental health, we conducted a scoping review of qualitative studies that explore the connections between insecure work and mental health. Our review, published in the journal Work, Employment and Society, found that precarious employment causes instability in people’s finances and in their ability to manage their personal time, caring commitments and social lives. People in insecure work also feel marginalised in the workplace and live with constant uncertainty about their employment status. All of these things can lead to negative impacts on mental health and wellbeing.



What is Mental Health

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Dr Annie Irvine reflects on her own journey with mental health and how she came to ask the question,…

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