'People are our greatest asset'
It's a well known corporate cliché. However, it is
healthy people who make a positive impact on the
productivity and effectiveness of most businesses. What is
perhaps less well appreciated is that the relationship between
health and work is a symbiotic one: work can play an important role
in supporting the health and wellbeing of employees, just as
employees support effective and profitable
There is now plenty of compelling evidence that paid or unpaid
work is generally good for the mental and physical health and
wellbeing of the majority of people. Returning to or getting
into work actually helps people to recover from a period of mental
Conversely people who are unemployed or workless have poorer
health than their employed counterparts. Unemployed people
visit their GP more, are more likely to be admitted to hospital and
have higher death rates.
The consensus is that work that is safe and
satisfying is generally good for health and
Is work good for your health and
Gordon Waddell and Kim Burton,
collates and evaluates the scientific evidence on the link between
work and health. The review focused on adults of working age
and the common health problems that account for two-thirds of
sickness absence and long-term incapacity (i.e. mild/moderate
mental health, musculoskeletal and cardio-respiratory
Working for a healthier tomorrow
Dame Carol Black's Review of the health of Britain's working age
Chapter 3 looks at the role of the workplace in
promoting and maintaining health and well-being.
health and work
Royal College of Psychiatrists, Health, Work and Wellbeing,
This review was
commissioned by the cross government Health, Work and Wellbeing
Programme. It focuses on mental ill health because these have
a greater impact on people’s ability to work than any other group
of health problems. It includes sections on the effect of
work and worklessness on mental health.
Working our way to better mental health: a framework for
Department for Work and Pensions, 2009
government strategy is built on the conclusion that there is a
positive link between employment and mental health. It draws
on the work of Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and
Work, as well as other academics and organisations. Research
shows that people generally enjoy better mental health when they
are in work. In contrast, the longer individuals are absent from or
out of work, the more likely they are to experience depression or
anxiety. Work can therefore play a vital role in improving
everyone’s well-being and mental health.
Conciliation and Arbitration Service)
The health, work and
wellbeing section of the website has links to ACAS publications and
guidance. ACAS stresses that work can have a positive
impact on health and wellbeing. Responsibility for health and
wellbeing at work belongs to both employers and employees and there
are key factors that can determine whether workers will have a
positive or negative relationship with work.
Centre for Mental Health
Employment and mental health
The Centre aims to find
practical and effective ways of overcoming the barriers faced by
people with mental health problems. It carries out research,
policy work and analysis to improve practice and influence policy
in mental health. The website includes a section on
employment and mental health.
Please note that we are unable to offer advice on individual cases. Please see our
advice on getting help.
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