Can work improve mental health?
Mental health problems affect the lives of a troublingly large number of individuals. The introduction of interventions that employers can deliver to their workforce to support mental health could dramatically improve the wellbeing of these people.
Mental health problems are common. The 2014 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey in England found that in any given week, 1 in 6 people will experience a common mental health problem. Even more concerning is that the ability of people to cope with mental health problems appears to be worsening.
Given that we spend the vast proportion of our adult life at work, workplace practices have the opportunity to influence our wellbeing drastically. Research has shown that work keeps you healthy for longer. However, finding and keeping good work quality can be challenging. The shift in the way we work (e.g. flexible working hours) and increased globalisation may further complicate the situation. We desperately need a clearer understanding of how work can impact our mental health to support the introduction of effective policies.
We are aiming to find interventions to support and maintain a healthy workforce. A healthy workforce is beneficial not just for the health of the individual but also for the economy.
Using academic journals and UK government data, we will evaluate current policies for supporting the mental health of the workplace and determine areas that need further improvement. This new information should shed light on who is best placed to deliver the necessary support (e.g. employers, government, etc.) and the individuals most likely to benefit from changes to the policy.
We can no longer overlook the intimate connection between work and mental health. Our findings of how best to care for the workforce may impact the life of every adult in England.
About the Authors
Our all-female team has a diverse range of interests including philosophy, gender studies, history, law and medicine. The author of this blog loves languages and is currently learning Bengali.