Job well done

Mental health problems carry huge economic costs—mostly due to unemployment, sick leave, and poor performance at work. Charities help reduce this cost by supporting people with mental health problems to find and keep jobs. NPC’s report looks at the most effective interventions in this area, and explores how funders can support this important work.

Mental health is key to everyone’s well-being. It affects our relationships, our work and our overall happiness. But at any one time, one in six people are suffering from mental health problems. This costs society £67bn every year—as much as the government has recently spent bailing out UK banks.

The economic cost of mental health problems is mainly down to unemployment, sick leave and poor performance at work. Job well done is a guide for funders keen to reduce these huge costs and improve lives. It identifies effective charities and approaches helping people with mental health problems get back to work, at a time when soaring unemployment and tighter public spending mean private funding is needed more than ever.

Private funding can improve the lives of people with mental health problems by helping them find jobs and make the most of their work. But there is also a part to play for social investors, businesses, and charities. This is a challenging and complex area, but there is very real potential to help thousands of people with mental health problems to lead healthy and productive lives.

 Mental health is still the elephant in the room in most workplaces. This culture of silence means undetected mental health problems can spiral into a crisis, resulting in sickness absence.

Emma Mamo, Mind


In 2011, Barclays Wealth commissioned NPC to identify the UK’s costliest social problems, and the most effective charitable interventions to address them. As a result, we published Early interventions: An economic approach to charitable giving, identifying the three most costly issues in the UK: chaotic families, children with conduct disorders and mental health and employment. Job well done gives funders more detail on the third issue, and we will publish reports on chaotic families and children with conduct disorders later this year.

We are grateful to Barclays Wealth for supporting the original research that provides the basis for this report.