Accessibility statement

Dr Annie Irvine
Lecturer in Social Policy and Public Management



  • BA (York)
  • MSc (Open University)
  • PhD (York)

Areas of expertise

  • Mental health in social context
  • Work and mental health
  • Welfare-to-work policy and practice
  • Qualitative research methods

Academic biography

My research focuses on the complex interplay of mental health, welfare systems and employment. I am interested in illuminating the personal, social and structural influences on transitions between employment and welfare in the context of mental distress. These complexities of situated lived experience are essential to understanding the effectiveness of policy approaches and interventions. Therefore, I seek to bring critical and conceptual lenses into productive dialogue with real-world policy and practice.
I joined the School for Business and Society in early 2024. Prior to this, I was a Research Fellow at the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health, King's College London, leading the development of qualitative research projects within its Work, Welfare Reform and Mental Health programme. Earlier in my research career, I spent twelve years as a Research Fellow in the Social Policy Research Unit at the University of York.

Professional activities

  • Affiliate of the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health
  • Editorial Board Member - Qualitative Research (Journal)
  • ESRC Peer Review College member



My current research projects include an ESRC-funded qualitative secondary analysis exploring conceptualisations of mental distress among UK welfare benefit claimants and a qualitative longitudinal study of transitions between work and welfare, for people with experience of mental health problems. I also have an ongoing research collaboration with local third-sector organisation Better Connect, evaluating a number of employability programmes for people with complex barriers to work.

Research Team Members

Dr Jane Suter



Researching Policy and Society - SPY00036I


Selected publications

Irvine, A. & Haggar, T. (2023) Conceptualising the social in mental health and work capability: implications of medicalised framing in the UK welfare system. Social Psychiatry Psychiatric Epidemiology (00). 

Irvine, A., & Rose, N. (2022). How Does Precarious Employment Affect Mental Health? A Scoping Review and Thematic Synthesis of Qualitative Evidence from Western Economies. Work, Employment and Society, 0(0).

Irvine, A. and Suter, J. (2023), Managing mental health problems in the workplace: are small businesses different?, Employee Relations, 45 (5), 1161-1179.

Suter, J., Irvine, A., & Howorth, C. (2023). Juggling on a tightrope: Experiences of small and micro business managers responding to employees with mental health difficulties. International Small Business Journal, 41(1), 3-34

School for Business and Society
University of York
Church Lane Building
York Science Park
York YO10 5ZF

T: +44 (0)1904 32 3800