Lived Experiences of Mental Health Problems and Welfare Conditionality

Stewart, Alasdair B. R.; Gawlewicz, Anna; Bailey, Nick; Katikireddi, S. Vittal and Wright, Sharon (2020). Lived Experiences of Mental Health Problems and Welfare Conditionality. University of Glasgow, Glasgow.



This paper explores experiences and impacts of welfare conditionality among people with mental health problems in the UK. Understanding of these experiences and impacts is crucial given the UK Government’s ambition to increase the number of people with mental health problems who enter, return or stay in employment. The paper is based on a secondary analysis of 144 interviews originally conducted as part of the Welfare Conditionality project running between 2013 and 2018. Overall, it establishes that welfare conditionality does not have a positive impact on behavioural change and return to employment for people with mental health problems. Furthermore, it shows that those categorised as unfit for work are excluded from back-to-work support. Finally, it demonstrates that mental health is invalidated within the welfare system, and the pressure and poverty arising from conditionality and sanctions are likely to exacerbate mental health problems.

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