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Peace of Mind: Exploring Universal Basic Income's Potential to Improve Mental Health

Social isolation, poverty and inequality have long been associated with mental illness, yet preventive approaches to mental health are often limited.  Most responses focus on what individuals, rather than society, can do to improve their mental health.  This knowledge exchange project, funded by the Scottish Universities Insight Initiative, explores the preventive potential of universal basic income (UBI) with respect to mental health.


Interest in UBI has increased recently, not least because of Covid-19. UBI could help individuals and economies withstand lockdown conditions and spur economic recovery, but – by tackling social isolation, poverty and inequality –it could also be a long-term strategy to prevent mental illness and improve mental health.  In this project, we bring together mental health and social care professionals, mental health charities, people with lived experience of mental illness, benefits recipients, UBI advocates and young people to explore how UBI might play a role in improving mental health.  Crucially, our activities capture ordinary people’s views about how socioeconomic factors have affected their mental health and how UBI could make a difference.  Our goal is to empower those involved in mental health to advocate for more socially progressive policies (including, but not limited to, UBI) and to encourage UBI advocates to consider the mental health effects of UBI more carefully.

Funded by:  Scottish Universities Insight Initiative

Start date:  2020

End date:  2021


Keywords: InequalityMental HealthPovertyPreventionUniversal Basic Income (UBI)

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