Mental disorders continue to increase sharply

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Mental disorders continue to increase sharply. More and more people have to take sick leave due to depressive episodes.

More and more people have to get sick from their doctor because of a mental illness such as depression. This was referred to by the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), which carried out an evaluation of the number of insured persons in the previous year. The health insurance fund evaluated the data of around 3.5 million health insurers. The TK not only evaluated the data of employees, but also of Hartz IV and unemployment benefit recipients.

Overall, the health insurance company saw a decline in sick leave, said spokeswoman Gudrun Ahlers. "We have around 2.4 percent fewer sick leave in 2010 than in 2009". A significant decrease in the number of illnesses could be observed in the area of ​​respiratory diseases such as cough or flu infections. However, sickness stagnated compared to the previous year at 3.36 percent (2009: 3.32 percent).

14 percent more sick leave due to mental disorders
The reason for this was quickly identified by Ahlers, who is responsible for writing health reports. The proportion of mental illnesses in sick reports continued to increase sharply compared to 2009. More and more patients are receiving medical treatment because they suffer from diseases such as depression or the "burn out" fatigue syndrome. "In one year, absenteeism due to psychological diagnoses increased by almost 14 percent," reports the expert. From a purely statistical point of view, every employee in Germany was unable to work for at least two days last year due to a mental disorder.

The health insurance company made differences in sick leave in the various federal states. Least of all were people on sick leave in Baden-Württemberg. Here, the employees were sick on average for almost 10 days (9.9). Most often, people in the new federal states were reported sick, in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania the insured took around 15.5 days on sick leave.

Stress and performance pressure in the workplace
The reasons for the increase in mental suffering are obvious. According to an evaluation by the Federal Association of Psychotherapists, the increased number of illnesses can be found due to the growing pressure to perform, the fear of unemployment and the stress at work. Mental illnesses have almost doubled since the 1990s. Those who are no longer up to the growing demands of employers are increasingly responding with depressive episodes and stress symptoms. Additional reasons include insufficient remuneration and an increasing lack of time in the workplace. The consequences: dissatisfaction, loss of self-esteem and frustration. The unemployed, on the other hand, often react with depression because they no longer feel needed and feel increasing social pressure from outside. (sb)

Read about mental disorders and sick leave:
Burn out mostly affects the committed
Increase in mental illness among adolescents
Absenteeism: Increase in mental illness
Depression exacerbate physical pain?
Every third person suffers from mental disorders

Image: Gerd Altmann /

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