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Mental Health and Employment are intertwined: Council Conclusions

On 9th of October 2023, the Council of the European Union approved the first-ever set of Conclusions on the interconnection between mental health and employment, with a focus on precarious work.

In its conclusions the Council stresses the importance of mental health as a component of overall well-being, emphasizing the impact of quality working conditions on workers’ mental health. Phycological well-being is an important issue for work ability and productivity, and, conversely, psychosocial risks at work can be detrimental to mental health. In particular, precarious work, including poorly paid and unprotected jobs, may lead to disorders such as anxiety and depression. 

According to EU-OSHA data, a higher percentage of women than men report having mental health problems caused or worsened by work. This can be explained by factors such as the preponderance of women in precarious jobs, the existence of risks that affect women more often than men such as harassment and sexual violence, or that the burden and impact of caregiving responsibilities is often higher for women.

With this in mind, and taking into account the emergence and consolidation of new forms of work, the Council invites Member States, among other things, to:

  • promote quality employment policies to combat precariousness;
  • ensure an enabling environment for bipartite and tripartite social dialogue, including collective bargaining, in addressing mental health and precarious work;
  • strengthen public systems that safeguard mental health at work;
  • promote research on mental health at work;
  • support the recruitment or reintegration of workers with mental health issues;
  • support self-employed persons and SMEs in preventing psychosocial risks at work.

Lastly, the Council calls upon social partners to participate in social dialogue, raise awareness, and promote interventions for psychosocial well-being. In this regard, EFSI welcomes the mention in the Council Conclusions of key role of social partners in improving prevention and management of psychosocial risks at work and calls on the Commission to take action to ensure that the Directive 89/391/EEC on Health and Safety also apply to “domestic servants”.

Read the Council conclusions here.