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KKH investigation: Much more absenteeism due to mental illness

KKH investigation: Much more absenteeism due to mental illness

According to a study by the KKH commercial health insurance company, the mental stress on working people in Germany has increased massively. According to the KKH, absenteeism due to mental illness rose to 303 lost days per 100 insured persons in the first half of the current year. This is an increase of 85 percent compared to the same period last year. According to its own statements, the KKH is one of the largest nationwide statutory health insurance companies and has more than 1.6 million insured persons.

According to the information, there were 164 lost days in the first half of 2022, and 137 in the first six months of 2021. “This development is alarming, because we have almost reached the level of the whole of 2022,” said KKH occupational psychologist Antje Judick . In 2022 as a whole, the insurance company registered 339 days of absence per 100 insured persons due to depression, adjustment disorders or anxiety disorders. In 2021 and 2020 there were 287.

More long-term illnesses

It was not only absenteeism that increased massively – but also the number of people who took sick leave because of mental illness. According to the KKH, the so-called incapacity rate, i.e. the number of sick leave in relation to working members, rose by around 32 percent in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period last year.

“The particularly strong increase in absenteeism indicates that there are increasingly severe, long-term cases of mental illness,” says Antje Judick. The occupational psychologist observes this development with concern – also with a view to the employees who have to absorb such absences from work and can thus themselves develop burnout or other mental illnesses caused by exhaustion.

Employees in social professions particularly at risk

The longest absences – averaging 112 and 71 days respectively – were due to recurring depression and depressive episodes in the first six months of the year. According to the KKH, employees are currently suffering mainly from acute stress reactions and adjustment disorders. At 41 percent, they account for the majority of all mental health-related sick leave, and the incapacity rate here rose by 42 percent.

“This shows that more and more workers are under unusual pressure, great strain and constant stress,” said Judick. Employees in social professions such as nursing for the elderly and the sick are particularly affected.

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