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Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) claimants
had worse mental health than people of working age in the
population as a whole, according to new research by the Department
for Work and Pensions.
In the months after a claim started, the average mental health
of men in the study remained poor, while that of women
The findings indicate that common mental
disorders contribute to poorer employment outcomes, because by
their nature, they erode beliefs about abilities and optimism about
the future. However, entering employment can support recovery.
More broadly, the study has shown that mental health is rooted
in the context of people’s lives. Poor physical health, low levels
of social support, neighbourhood context and adverse life events
all play a role in whether or not someone will experience a decline
in mental health during a period of unemployment.
However, there is an important distinction for policy-makers to
consider between people who arrive on JSA with relatively stable
employment histories having developed symptoms of distress as a
result of recent life events and those for whom a mental health
condition is one issue among an array of longstanding life
Read our section on Benefits and working or
looking for work
Rightsnet (link opens in a new window) and the
Department for Work and Pension (link opens in a new
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