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  • Run by the University of Glasgow, in partnership with the University of Leeds, Newcastle University and the University of Essex.
  • Research to assess the potential impact of economic and welfare policy responses to COVID-19 on mental health and mental health inequalities, including who is impacted the most and what the likely consequences will be.
  • Will develop a new mathematical model to simulate the potential impact of economic changes on the mental health of the population of Britain.
  • This project is underway, and will end February 2022.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK government and devolved administrations are implementing policies to try and maintain employment and income. Despite this, many people have lost their jobs and more are likely to do so.

Further policy changes will be needed as the pandemic continues. It is vital that these are informed by evidence about the impact they could have on people’s mental health, as unemployment and poverty are strongly associated with poorer health.

This project will look at who is impacted the most by the job losses and declines in income, what the likely mental health consequences are of an economic crisis, and what the implications are of different economic and welfare policies.

The project team will develop a mathematical model which will simulate the potential impact of economic changes on the mental health of people in Britain. Economic models will be used to estimate how the downturn will impact jobs and income, and information collected from the same people over many years will be used to study the relationship between jobs, income and mental health.  

The model will demonstrate how mental health might change under different economic policies (such as furlough or changes in welfare benefits), and the impact on mental health inequalities.

The project will help inform the COVID-19 response by demonstrating the scale of the potential mental health crisis and how unemployment and income falls contribute, comparing the mental health impacts of different policies, and demonstrating how simulation models can be used to study the broader causes of poor health and inequalities.


For more information about this project, please contact Vittal Katikireddi, Senior Clinical Research Fellow, University of Glasgow, and Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Public Health Scotland.

More about the programme

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