From education to employment

Research reveals health benefits of content employment

Work is good for you ““ according to research released yesterday by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Entitled “Is Work Good for your Health and Well-being?” the report concludes that working boosts self-esteem and improves quality of life. And conversely, unemployment affects both the mind and the body, progressively damaging health and resulting in a decreased life expectancy.

Commissioned and funded by the government, DWP Minister Lord Hunt commented on the research, saying: “This review reinforces our commitment to helping more people into work, improving the health of working age people and tackling the root causes of ill-health”.

Following a meeting of members of Horizon House, he noted: “The people I have met today are living proof of the undeniable link between work and well-being”. The organisation offers work-based rehabilitation and job opportunities with local employers.

He added: “Work is good for individuals and their families, and by lifting people out of poverty it also benefits communities by increasing prosperity while reducing health and wealth inequalities”.

Dame Carol Black will lead the government’s Health Work and Well-being strategy, and is one of the country’s top doctors. Accordingly, a series of initiatives are being progressed to help engage, educate and support GPs and other healthcare professionals, as the review indicates a lack of understanding on their part about the health benefits of working.

She noted: “I am determined to raise awareness among healthcare professionals that being out of work has a real and negative impact on people’s mental and physical health”.

“Very few doctors and nurses understand that work is health giving. Work is an intrinsic part of improving and maintaining health. It is crucial that GPs bear this in mind when offering advice and support to people with all types of health condition”.

A Trades Union Congress (TUC) spokesperson noted: “Although this research confirms the belief that work has positive health effects as against not working, we must remember that not all work is equal and some forms of work and working practices can certainly damage health or reduce life expectancy”.

“The important thing is to make sure that work is safe and does not damage health in either the short or long term”.

Vijay Pattni.

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