Employment Must Not Be the Aim of Mental Health Treatment

Benefit tales

Therapy is about reducing suffering, right? Living a fuller life? Not according to current moves to place employment as a central aim of therapy. How come this move is so damaging? Why will so many of us activists and therapists be protesting outside the New Savoy conference on Tuesday, the conference that hopes to set the agenda for the next wave of mental health reform?

In recent years, the government has started to use psychology to get people off benefits, and back to work. In 2006 an economist, Lord Layard, published The Depression Report, an attempt to justify a new wave of therapy for the masses through cost-benefit analysis, the argument the government would actually save money in the long term. Though in many ways a brilliant strategic move, the coupling of saving money with mental health outcomes has become acceptable in a way we would…

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