Fitter Minds, Fitter Jobs

From Awareness to Change in Integrated Mental Health, Skills and Work Policies

A series of reviews of mental health and work policies in selected OECD countries revealed the challenge of mental health for social and labour market outcomes and policies and the high costs of the continued stigmatisation of mental health for individuals, employers and societies. To better respond to this challenge, in early 2016 health and employment ministers from the 38 OECD countries endorsed a Recommendation of the Council on Integrated Mental Health, Skills, and Work Policy. The Recommendation asked for a holistic mental-health-in-all-policies approach, with particular attention to a timely and integrated delivery of services and the involvement of frontline actors. Five years later, it is time to assess progress achieved in the policy areas covered by the Recommendation (health policy, youth policy, workplace policy, and welfare policy). This report complements a legal document prepared by the OECD on the implementation of the Recommendation five years after its adoption, and adds quantitative evidence to it as well as considerations about the implications of the experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic on future versions of the Recommendation. Policy is in flux in most countries but much more will have to be done to implement the principles and fulfil the promises of the Recommendation.

Published on November 04, 2021

In series:Mental Health and Workview more titles


Executive summary
What does a mental health-in-all-policies approach look like?
What are current social and labour market outcomes for persons with mental health conditions?
How far have we come in implementing integrated mental health, skills and work policies?
What are the implications and lessons of the COVID‑19 pandemic for integrated mental health, skills and work policy?
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Key insights

Slow progress overall

Welfare systems made the least progress in implementing integrated support despite the high prevalence of mild-to-moderate health conditions among benefit recipients.

Employment gap

Prior to the pandemic, a 20% gap in employment between individuals with and without mental health conditions existed. Policy changes have so far been inadequate at addressing this issue.

Expanded support for youth

Significant progress has been made in recent years in expanding mental health resources and support in education systems. Innovative initiatives are being successfully integrated with education and employment support.