Tougher “fit for work” tests to assess eligibility for disability benefit may have taken a serious toll on mental health in England, according to a study that linked the tests to 590 extra suicides and hundreds of thousands of additional antidepressant prescriptions.
In what is believed to be the first research of its kind to examine the mental health impact of the work capability assessment (WCA) in England, experts said there could be “serious consequences” of the policy to move people off benefits, which they said had been introduced without any evidence of its potential impact.
Published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the analysis follows research published last week which found that debt, austerity and unemployment were significant factors in the rising number of British men who have killed themselves since the tests were introduced in 2008.
Disability rights campaigners and mental health charities have long…
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