This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Find out more here


To discuss how you and your organisation can get more involved with The Work Foundation, please contact us.

Call 020 7976 3575 or email


Stephen  Bevan

UK worst performing OECD country for supporting workforce mental health

Authors: Stephen Bevan Anna Kharbanda

10 February 2014

The Work Foundation and Paul Burstow MP comment on the launch of a report published today (10 February) by the OECD, Mental Health and Work – UK, hosted at The Work Foundation. The findings show that mental health costs the UK £70 billion each year (about 4.5% GDP) in lost productivity at work and benefits payments. It  includes recommendations for policy makers and employers to better tackle the issue. 

Professor Stephen Bevan, director of the Centre of Workforce Effectiveness at The Work Foundation and a spokesperson at today’s report launch, said: “1 in 6 workers in the UK experience mental health difficulties with depression, stress and anxiety the most prevalent. 

As today’s report reveals, the UK has the highest number of new disability benefits claims in the world with mental health difficulties the leading cause. The impact is felt not only in lost productivity and high sickness absence, but on individual self esteem and quality of life. We welcome the OECD’s recommendations which will better support people with mental health difficulties to enter and remain in work.”

Paul Burstow MP, the former Health Minister who is co-chairing a project with the charity Sane to tackle barriers to employment for people with mental health problems, said:  "It's time to challenge the unacceptable opportunity gap faced by people with mental health problems.

 "This report makes clear helping people with mental health problems in to employment would hugely benefit UK PLC, but most importantly it has the potential to transform people’s lives.
"The NHS must take the lead in prioritising employment for people with mental health problems. It is not good enough that there are so few employment-support services being commissioned when the evidence  of their impact  on finding and staying in work is so compelling. This is life shortening discrimination that demands action."


Notes to editors

1.A copy of the OECD report, Mental Health and Work, is available from the OECD press office. Please email to obtain a copy
2.Stephen Bevan is available for interviews, briefings and written comment.
3.The Work Foundation aims to be the leading independent, international authority on work and its future, influencing policy and practice for the benefit of society. The Work Foundation is part of Lancaster University – an alliance that enables both organisations to further enhance their impact. 

Media enquiries: 

Anna Kharbanda 020 7976 3646
The Work Foundation

For urgent out-of-hours enquiries: 0782 552 7036