The number of sick leaves taken in Germany owing to mental health problems has tripled as from 1997, a recent study has revealed. While this could be taken as a signal that working life has become increasingly stressful, some experts argue that instead, it could point to something way more positive: the wearing off of the taboo associated with mental illness.
Apparently, the figures seem to reflect a concerning trend; in 1997, the average worker took 0 to 7 days of sick leave annually due to mental health. At the present time, that number has increased to 2 to 5 days per year, a tripling in the duration of 20 years. The major causes of absenteeism were adjustment disorders (for instance, after the loss of life or life-changing illnesses), depression, anxiety disorders, and neurotic disorders. There has been a drop in the cases of burnout to almost half since 2012.
These figures were unveiled last week by DAK Gesundheit, which is a German health insurance firm, in its ‘Psychoreport 2019’. Analyzing the number of sick days taken by its insured members because of mental health issues over the last 20 years, the firm found that a peak was reached two years back, prompting the reason why; Is working life becoming too tough in Germany? Or is the modern world just failing to give us happiness?
According to the Chief Executive Officer of DAK, Andreas Storm, the answer could be neither; Mental health problems aren’t any longer taboo in conversations between patients and doctors, he said. This implies that there is a possibility of discussing psychological issues more openly with doctors & employers when requesting leaves of absence.
While there has been a lessened stigma attached with mental health issues in the last 20 years, left-wing political groups don’t believe that is the only factor behind the increasing number of sick days.