The research project explores depression-related work disability among young adults. Through life story interviews, the study examines how social inequalities and gender arrange the processes where young adults are ‘sidelined’ from the working society.
In Finland, rates of depression-related inability to work have soared among adults under 30 years of age. Moreover, there is often a link between depression and dropping out of the education system or workforce. On the Sidelines looks at the young adults behind the statistics. The study asks, first of all, what kinds of paths have led to sick leave or outside work and education. The second key element of the project is an emphasis on the present: How do the young adults themselves perceive their current life situation? What kinds of problems do they face in day-to-day life? What kinds of things support the young adult’s agency, and what hinders it?
The aim for the project is to bring new insights and solutions into today’s discussion of mental health, work disability, and social exclusion and inclusion. What kind of social policy could improve young adults’ opportunities to act as a part of society – in a way regarded as meaningful?
The project is funded by the Academy of Finland (for 2016–2018).