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Mental health in context: the national study of work-search and wellbeing

When people start a claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), what is the state of their mental health and wellbeing? And what happens to them in the months that follow? To examine these questions, a two-wave telephone cohort survey was conducted with a sample of people who began a JSA claim in the first quarter of 2011. Wave 1 fieldwork was conducted between March and May (2,079 people interviewed) with participants followed up for a second interview approximately four months later (July to August, 1,279 people interviewed). An assessment of common mental disorder (CMD) was carried out at both waves. Comparisons were made with the general population, using data from other surveys. Qualitative interviews were conducted with participants identified with symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression during Wave 1 survey interviews. Qualitative fieldwork was conducted in June and July 2011.