On Monday 25th March 2019, I will be presenting some initial findings from the ‘Welfare, Employment, and Mental Health’ research project. The presentation is part of the Urban Studies’ Monday Workshops at the University of Glasgow.
Long seen as the ‘Cinderella’ service of the NHS, mental health has received renewed policy focus in recent years. Both the UK and Scottish Governments have committed to achieving ‘parity of esteem’ between physical and mental health. There is further agreement in the policy proposals put forth in their mental health strategies, promising a public health and life course approach with increased investment and access to mental health services. In contrast, this research undertakes a critical discourse analysis that places the mental health strategies within the broader policy corpus of the UK and Scottish Governments, revealing a radical divergence beyond these similarities in how they define and configure the relationships between mental health, welfare, and employment. This divergence arises from the opposing definitions of social justice by the respective governments, evident across three key areas: the relationship between mental health and inequalities, the role welfare has in mediating mental health, and under what circumstances work can promote good mental health.