Overview: This paper summarises literature on unemployment, mental health and Work for the Dole programs. Australian and international evidence suggests that unemployed young people are more likely to experience mental health problems than employed people (e.g. greater anxiety and depression, higher suicide rates). Drawing on research undertaken in Australia and overseas the authors identify a link between mental health and unemployment. However, there is a lack of firm evidence with respect to the impact of Work for the Dole programs on the mental health of unemployed young Australians. There is the possibility that with the Australian Government's proposed expansion of the program any benefits of Work for the Dole on mental health of young unemployed people could be diminished or lost. There is a clear need for more research in this area.