Christopher Prinz and Iris Arends Keynote: Don’t ignore mental health: Addressing the biggest challenge for OECD labour markets

Wednesday Keynote Address: Don’t ignore mental health: Addressing the biggest challenge for OECD labour markets

Presented by: Christopher Prinz and Iris Arends (combined remote and on-site)

Schedule Details

Wednesday October 1 09:00 - 10:00 King Ballroom


Despite recent cyclical highs in unemployment, most OECD countries have made very successful steps in the past two decades to diminish structural unemployment. However, falling unemployment often went hand-in-hand with increasing disability rates – creating a new structural problem, which is only partially solved until today and only in some countries. Moreover, all OECD countries are facing a major labour market challenge in needing to tackle mental ill-health, which is becoming the biggest driver of inactivity and a major cause of long-term sickness, work disability and unemployment. This presentation discusses this development and the policy responses across OECD countries in the health, employment and education sphere. It concludes that a solution to this largely unresolved challenge requires much better integrated mental health and work policies, and presents some examples of such policies.


Christopher PrinzChristopher Prinz is a Senior Policy Analyst in the Employment Analysis and Policy Division of the OECD. He currently leads the OECD’s Mental Health and Work review team, which published a first report in early 2012 – Sick on the Job? Myths and Realities about Mental Health and Work – and is now producing a series of country studies on this topic (see Christopher joined the OECD in early 2000 and has, since then, managed the work of the Organisation on sickness and disability policies for the working-age population. He co-authored all reports in the Sickness, Disability and Work series published in the period 2006-2010 and was the author of OECD’s 2003 report Transforming Disability into Ability. Before joining the OECD, Christopher was a researcher at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (1989-1994) and at the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research (1994-2000), when he published widely on pension and family policy and reforms. More broadly, Christopher’s main interest is in employment-oriented social policies. He is Austrian and holds degrees in Statistics (M.A.) and Demography (Ph.D.) from the University of Vienna. Contact:


Slides from Keynote by Christopher Prinz and Iris Arends
(PDF, 1.1 MB)