Mental health problems are the second biggest cause of sickness absence from work, with depression and stress the most significant factors, a report out yesterday claims.
A Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development study of 30,000 employees found that mental health problems accounted for the second most number of annual sick days behind musculoskeletal problems, such as back pain or a sprained ankle.
Among mental health problems, stress accounted for almost half of incidences of absence, with depression accounting for almost a quarter. People with depression averaged almost 30 days off sick for each absence, while those with stress took over 21 days off on average.
The impact of mental health problems varied by sector. In housing associations, central and local government, employees averaged 27 days off sick per absence, compared to 16 days in the NHS and 14 in education; in the private sector, absence length was greatest in telecommunications (24 days).
Following the report, mental health charity Mind called on employers to tackle absence by promoting awareness and understanding of mental health problems, making reasonable adjustments to allow employees to deal with problems, such as flexi-time, and offering services to promote wellbeing such as counselling and stress-awareness training.
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Information on mental health