It is widely known that the unemployed have a high risk of mental health problems, however, only recently has attention been paid to their mental health care use. My PhD research shows that mental health care use by the unemployed is often higher than would be expected based on their need for care. In a European context of high variation in unemployment, labor-market policies, and health care expenditure, it is crucial to understand whether, how, and why unemployment is differently related to mental health and mental health care use in different countries. To date, the lion’s share of comparative research focusing on the role of policies has been restricted to labormarket outcomes. This research proposal includes comparative research on the topic from an institutional approach, by paying attention to the role of policies and social norms of unemployment. First, I abandon the traditional regime perspective and use fuzzy set analysis, which bridges qualitative and quantitative research and enables me to combine unemployment policies and health care system characteristics. Second, I investigate the impact of unemployment policies and the changed economic context, on the way people view unemployment. In the next step, I explore whether this social norm of unemployment changes the relations between unemployment, mental health, and mental health care use. I rely on repeated cross-sectional data from the Eurobarometer, the European Values Survey, and the European Social Survey.