Report summary

Where next for workplace mental health: putting science to work

This report sets out what we learned in our second workplace mental health commission, where 15 global research teams examined promising approaches for addressing workplace mental health. The report provides an update on the state of the field and explains why researchers and businesses need to unite to take a scientific and evidence-based approach to supporting mental health in the workplace.

 What's inside

  • Key findings from 15 research projects commissioned in 2021 which looked at the evidence behind promising approaches for supporting workplace mental health.
  • Suggested actions for business leaders, policymakers and researchers, based on this evidence.
  • Reflections on the gaps in the evidence base and why it is important for businesses, policymakers and researchers to work together to understand what works, for whom and in what context.

Who this is for

  • Businesses
  • Employees
  • Policymakers
  • Researchers

Key findings 

Building on our first workplace mental health commission, we wanted to continue the conversation about mental health in the workplace – one underpinned by science and a shared focus on understanding which approaches are effective, for whom and in what context.

In 2021, Wellcome commissioned a further 15 global research teams to each examine the evidence behind a single promising approach for preventing or addressing mental health problems in the workplace. In this commission, we were particularly interested in research that focused on workers in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) and those who may be underrepresented or experiencing inequalities or discrimination in the workplace. 

We also asked research teams to work alongside people with lived experience of mental health problems in the workplace throughout their projects.

Broad insights from across the 15 research projects:

1. For many approaches, employers can draw on the existing evidence to inform them how to support the mental health of their staff  

There is some evidence available about what works, for whom, in what context and why. Business leaders can draw on knowledge we already have about supporting the mental health of their employees, including considering how to effectively implement these in practice.

2. Context is critical for the effectiveness of interventions 

One of the most consistent findings across the projects – in both our first and our second commission – was that organisational context has a huge influence on how effective interventions are in practice. Important factors include support from managers, participation and support from colleagues, and approaches forming part of a wider organisational commitment to mental health. 

3. There are significant gaps in the evidence base. For example:

  • limited literature in LMIC contexts;
  • inconsistent approaches to measuring the impact of interventions on mental health outcomes;
  • lack of data on how interventions work for different groups of people or different types of workforces.

Downloads 

Contact us 

For more information about this report, contact Catherine Smith, Mental Health, at ca.smith@wellcome.org.

For further information about an individual research project, contact the relevant person using the contact details included in the report.