linked knowledge offers alternatives for brand spanking new analysis


Many individuals who expertise extreme psychological sickness wish to work, however this group of individuals nonetheless expertise excessive charges of unemployment (Gühne et al., 2021; Centre for Psychological Well being, 2013). That is partially brought on by limitations to employment resembling stigma and discrimination (Centre for Psychological Well being, 2013) and the inflexibility of the present advantages system within the UK. Individuals with lived expertise have recognized additional issues brought on by an outdated restrict on earnings and guidelines about permitted work, which might additional disincentivise individuals from returning to work (Appleton et al, 2021). This 2020 weblog about advantages and psychological well being by Andy Bell is a abstract of assorted papers revealed between 2016-2020, and is a good introduction to the sector.

There may be additionally a rising physique of proof to recommend that this relationship is bi-directional, with advantages insurance policies leading to a adverse impression on claimant’s psychological well being. For instance, the usage of advantages sanctions can result in individuals struggling to pay their payments or purchase requirements like meals or clothes, which in flip can negatively impression claimants’ psychological well being (Wright & Patrick, 2019). A current systematic overview which collated proof of the psychological well being impression of social safety insurance policies discovered (maybe unsurprisingly) that insurance policies which result in extra beneficiant advantages are related to each diminished inequalities and enhancements in claimant’s psychological well being (Simpson et al., 2021). The alternative was additionally true, as insurance policies which resulted in decrease ranges of assist or had stricter eligibility standards had been related to a worsening of psychological well being, and better inequalities.

This weblog summarises a current paper by Sharon Stevelink and colleagues, which describes the method of linking psychological well being knowledge from one psychological well being belief within the UK with advantages information knowledge from the Division of Work and Pensions (DWP).

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Using advantages sanctions can result in individuals struggling to pay their payments or purchase requirements like meals or clothes, which in flip worsens psychological well being issues.


Information linkage entails linking two or extra datasets which comprise completely different details about the identical people. The info used is from digital information, and any knowledge that may determine people is eliminated previous to linkage. Psychological well being knowledge from January 2007 to June 2019 was linked with advantages knowledge from January 2005 to June 2020. The precise linkage befell in late 2020 and was achieved by linking individuals’s nationwide insurance coverage numbers (held within the DWP dataset) with a pseudonym created for every document within the psychological well being dataset.

This examine targeted on those that had been referred to secondary psychological well being providers within the South London and Maudsley NHS Belief; individuals who had been prone to have extra extreme psychological well being issues. The examine crew consulted with a lived expertise advisory group earlier than the info linkage befell to debate and approve their plans for linking the 2 datasets. This group may also be concerned in any future analysis involving this dataset to debate concepts for analysis questions and assist with dissemination of the findings.

Individuals had been classed as receiving a profit if that they had obtained considered one of a spread of advantages energetic between January 2005 and June 2020. The DWP dataset additionally included data on what sort of Common Credit score conditionality regime sufferers had been allotted to e.g. looking for work, no work necessities and many others.

Combining each the psychological well being and advantages datasets allowed for lacking knowledge in a single dataset to be stuffed in, if full within the different. The general linkage fee was calculated by assessing the proportion of pseudonym IDs which had been efficiently linked to a nationwide insurance coverage quantity. Additional statistical analyses had been performed to discover elements related to receiving advantages, while controlling for variables resembling age, intercourse and ethnicity. The authors additionally described the advantages use of psychological well being service customers.


The paper studies on knowledge from 239,714 individuals who had accessed specialist psychological well being providers.

Information linkage

The examine crew had been in a position to obtain a excessive degree of information linkage between the 2 datasets, with 92.3% of information efficiently linked. Socio-demographic elements which meant knowledge had been much less prone to be linked included being feminine, being from an ethnic minority group, being center aged (outlined as age 21-60 years), or solely having one postcode obtainable (slightly than two or extra). Individuals who had been over 60 years of age had been extra prone to have their knowledge efficiently linked than different adults.

Contact with DWP

Of these whose knowledge had been efficiently linked, 83.6% had engaged with the DWP, and of these, 99.8% had obtained a profit. Of these service customers who obtained advantages, 85.1% obtained two or extra completely different advantages.

A lot of the sufferers had a main psychiatric analysis recorded of their digital healthcare document, the commonest being a temper dysfunction (round 20%) adopted by substance abuse issues (17.5%) and issues as a consequence of physiological circumstances, e.g. dementia (17.4%).

The forms of profit obtained by individuals was diverse by analysis. For instance, the vast majority of sufferers identified with an mental incapacity obtained incapacity advantages resembling Employment and Help Allowance and Incapacity Residing Allowance, or Revenue Help advantages resembling Revenue Help and Private Independence Cost. Related forms of advantages had been additionally obtained by sufferers identified with pervasive and particular developmental issues and sufferers identified with schizophrenia or psychotic issues. In distinction, individuals with substance abuse issues had been extra prone to obtain unemployment advantages resembling Job Seekers’ Allowance.

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Digital linkage between psychological well being and advantages knowledge was largely profitable. 92.3% of information between the 2 datasets was efficiently linked.


This paper particulars the primary linkage of a psychological well being and a advantages dataset. Outcomes present {that a} excessive proportion of service customers who’ve been involved with secondary psychological well being care providers had additionally obtained a profit throughout the 15-year knowledge linkage interval. This novel linked dataset unlocks the potential for future analysis research to give attention to particular analysis questions for psychological well being service customers who obtain advantages, with the goal of enhancing future outcomes.

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Almost all (99.8%) service customers who had engaged with the Division of Work and Pension obtained a minimum of one profit throughout the 15-year knowledge linkage interval.

Strengths and limitations

This examine reported a really excessive fee of information linkage of 92.3%. One specific power of the method utilized by the analysis crew was the involvement of a lived expertise advisory group in planning the info linkage. The involvement of individuals with lived expertise is essential to make sure that analysis is performed in a approach that doesn’t exclude the wants of service customers or carers and maximises the usefulness of analysis findings to the inhabitants they symbolize.

Nevertheless, there have been additionally some limitations reported relating to knowledge availability. For instance, the info units didn’t enable the examine crew to tell apart between completely different causes for individuals stopping advantages resembling returning to work or disengaging from the advantages system. The authors additionally reported that this problem might disproportionately have an effect on deprived teams resembling people who find themselves homeless or refugees, as they’re extra prone to have disengaged from the advantages system however not be in work. There have been additionally some inequalities in whether or not linkage was achieved, with girls, individuals from an ethnic minority group, or those that had been center aged, much less prone to have had profitable knowledge linkage, which can result in biases in future analysis research utilizing the linked knowledge. The present knowledge linkage additionally solely contains service customers who’ve accessed secondary psychological well being providers, there isn’t any data for individuals who might have obtained different types of psychological well being care. Lastly, the psychological well being knowledge was solely from one psychological well being belief in a single space of the UK. It’s subsequently unclear whether or not comparable excessive charges of advantages contacts amongst individuals accessing secondary psychological well being providers happens in different areas of the nation.

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The examine was unable to tell apart between variations in individuals stopping advantages, e.g. individuals returning to work or disengaging from the advantages system.

Implications for follow

As the connection between poor psychological well being and receiving advantages is considered bi-directional, it is very important perceive extra about how individuals with psychological sickness will be supported to return to work, while minimising the psychological harms brought on by sure elements of the advantages system.

Given the excessive charges of involvement with the advantages system amongst this inhabitants, clinicians ought to concentrate on their purchasers’ potential engagement with the advantages system and any related misery brought on by systemic points.

Implications for analysis and coverage

This novel knowledge linkage paves the best way for additional analysis on this space. For instance, gaining access to a big dataset containing 15 years’ price of linked advantages and secondary psychological well being service use knowledge permits for analysis exploring the longitudinal relationships between psychological well being and profit receipt. Future analysis utilizing this dataset might additionally discover the impression of the introduction of sure profit insurance policies (resembling Common Credit score) on the psychological well being of service customers. Increasing the info linkage to incorporate the broader inhabitants might additionally enable for comparisons in psychological well being outcomes (e.g. suicides) between profit recipients and people not involved with the welfare system.

In mild of the present price of dwelling disaster disproportionately affecting these on decrease incomes, coverage makers ought to look at the obtainable knowledge to discover how the advantages system will be amended to enhance the psychological well being of these in receipt of social safety advantages.

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This novel methodology of information linkage offers nice alternatives for additional analysis into the intersection between psychological well being and receipt of advantages.

Assertion of pursuits



Main paper

Stevelink, S.A., Phillips, A., Broadbent, M., Boyd, A., Dorrington, S., Jewell, A., Leal, R., Bakolis, I., Madan, I., Hotopf, M. and Concern, N.T., (2023). Linking digital psychological healthcare and advantages information in South London: design, process and descriptive outcomes. BMJ Open, 13(2), p.e067136.

Different references

Gühne, U., Pabst, A., Löbner, M. et al. Employment standing and need for work in extreme psychological sickness: outcomes from an observational, cross-sectional examine. (2021) Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology 56, 1657–1667

Centre for Psychological Well being (2013) Briefing 47. Limitations to Employment 

Appleton, R., Barnett, P., Allman., F & Lloyd-Evans, B. (2022) IMPACTS OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM ON CLAIMANTS’ MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING, AND HOW MIGHT HARMS BE MITIGATED: NIHR Psychological Well being Coverage Analysis Unit Report.

Wright, S., & Patrick, R. (2019). Welfare Conditionality in Lived Expertise: Aggregating Qualitative Longitudinal Analysis. Social Coverage and Society, 18(4), 597-613. doi:10.1017/S1474746419000204

Simpson, J., Albani, V., Bell, Z., Bambra, C. and Brown, H., (2021). Results of social safety coverage reforms on psychological well being and inequalities: a scientific overview of observational research in high-income international locations. Social Science & Drugs, 272, p.113717.

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