Mental illness is 2nd largest reason for time off work

“Mental illness is now the second largest reason for UK workers taking time off, a report suggests.

A study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found an increasing amount of sickness leave is due to depression or stress.

Analysis of the records of 30,000 people found only muscle-related problems such as bad backs were cited as a greater cause of absenteeism.
Staff with depression were said to take an average 30 days off annually.

Those with stress were reported to be away for 21 days.

The CPID found public sector workers were more likely to take time off work because of mental illness and overall the problem was more prevalent among older staff.

Reduced hours

The CIPD said its findings will be “particularly worrying” for the government in light of a “huge” increase in the number of people with mental health problems claiming incapacity benefit.

“This research shows how important it is for managers and HR practitioners to be aware of the signs of mental ill health so that they can take action early and provide support before the individual’s condition deteriorates to the point they go off on long-term sick leave,” said Ben Willmott, CIPD employee relations adviser.

He called on the government to provide tax incentives to encourage more firms to offer occupational health services.

GPs need to work more closely with employers to identify opportunities for “phased return-to-work” for those affected with less demanding or reduced hours roles, Mr Willmott added.”

Posted by: Eleanor


2 responses to “Mental illness is 2nd largest reason for time off work

  1. In my opinion, backed up by a complete lack of evidence, this has less to do with the stress of jobs, so much as changes in the way employers operate. I’d guess this is why it affects older people more – younger people tend to be more used to the new ways of working.

    Then again, there is some evidence from research on call centres that stress isn’t so much a function of how challenging work is, but of how much control an individual has over their own work patterns. These days, the amount of control is minimal, employers are competing on the margins by squeezing their employees in any way they can. Employees in many sectors have stunningly little control over their lives when at work. The people who actually have power are often several times removed and utterly inaccessible. The bureaucracy clogged public-services are a perfect example of this.

    What’s needed isn’t reduced hours, but a change in the amount of autonomy employees are given. Occupational health services are, at best, a sticking plaster over a wound they’re never going to be able to cover.

  2. “What’s needed isn’t reduced hours, but a change in the amount of autonomy employees are given.” –

    You’re exactly right, taking away control is a sure fire way to raise stress levels, and it also raises levels of apathy.

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