More early retirees due to mental illness

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The number of early retirees with mental illnesses increased significantly

Mental illnesses are increasingly causing early retirement, according to the Berlin Chamber of Psychotherapists. Tens of thousands of workers therefore retire early each year due to depression and other mental health problems. Adequate psychotherapeutic support could enable many of those affected to return to work, but "mentally ill early retirees would be practically written off," quotes the dpa news agency Rainer Richter, President of the Chamber.

Referring to the figures of the pension insurance, the Chamber of Psychotherapists reports that the number of employees who retire early in Germany due to mental illness has increased drastically within ten years. While around 50,000 early retirees left the profession in 2002 due to psychological complaints, the number rose to around 75,000 by 2012. The average age of those affected was only 49 years. Accordingly, you retired 18 years before your actual retirement age. The news agency "dpa" reports that the chamber president assumes that almost every second new early retirement is due to psychological reasons.

Weaknesses in therapeutic care Depression (growth of 96 percent), personality and behavioral disorders (growth of 74 percent) and addictive disorders (growth of 49 percent), according to Chamber President Richter, have increased significantly since 2001 as the causes of early retirement. The Chamber of Psychotherapists also relates this to the fact that only every third mentally ill person in Germany actually receives therapy. Many affected people could be helped, but there are weaknesses in therapeutic care. The chamber president therefore demanded, among other things, that the often months of waiting for a therapy place be finally reduced. Clear legal requirements are required here.

Poverty risk for early retirees The fact that more and more pensions are retiring early due to psychological problems is particularly worrying in the opinion of the psychotherapist chamber, since those affected have usually already had a long journey of suffering and the risk of poverty then increases significantly. The disability pension has fallen sharply since 2000 and is now only around 600 euros per month on average. It follows that more than 25 percent of the disabled pensioners live in poverty. With adequate therapeutic support, however, many could have been able to return to work, the Chamber said. This would not only have a positive effect on the financial situation of those affected, but, according to the experts, could also help stabilize patients if their mental health problems are treated appropriately. Instead of offering them help here, the mentally ill early retirees were often moved back and forth between health and pension insurance, the Chamber President criticized. (fp)

Image: Gerd Altmann /

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