Mental illness as a widespread disease



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Relationship between the increase in mental illness and workload

Mental illnesses have increased significantly in recent decades and have become veritable widespread diseases. In terms of the number of days off sick leave, mental illnesses could become the number one widespread disease in the near future, explained Ingo Kailuweit, CEO of the Commercial Health Insurance Fund (KKH), in an interview with the "Bild" newspaper.

For the significant increase in sick leave due to mental illnesses, the expert also blamed the enormous strain that many employees are exposed to in their everyday work. "In the long run, pressure to succeed and constant accessibility are a health hazard," the KKH boss emphasized in an interview with the newspaper. Accordingly, a clear increase in absenteeism can be observed. Because those who have psychological problems are usually not fit again after a week. For example, an evaluation by the KKH would have shown that employees in wholesale and retail who were on sick leave due to psychological complaints were missing an average of 43.6 days in 2012. In other sectors, absenteeism in mental illness is similar.

Stress due to constant availability According to the expert, a significant part of the increase in mental illness has, for example, the constant availability of calls on the cell phone, reading e-mails outside of working hours and the increasing pressure to perform in the work environment. Here, employers are urged to take countermeasures, Kailuweit emphasized. A requirement that has already been expressed by various parties, but has so far only been considered to a limited extent. In terms of effectiveness, working time compression has long been the top priority. Employees should do more and more tasks at the same time. In the end, today most employees work numerous hours of overtime, as the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) confirmed to “Bild”. The psychological stress caused by the high work pressure is so enormous that many feel that it cannot cope with it in the long term. It is not without reason that there has been a continuous increase in sick leave due to psychological suffering in recent years.

Psychological stresses lead to physical illnesses The psychological stresses at work not only have psychological consequences, but can also lead to physical complaints, such as back pain. This was pointed out by the experts at the 53rd international conference of the German Society for Occupational Medicine and Environmental Medicine (DGAUM), the Austrian Society for Occupational Medicine (ÖGA) and the Swiss Society for Occupational Medicine (SGARM / SSMT) in Bregenz (Austria). In fact, back pain from stress is not uncommon. According to the expert Andreas Tautz from the German Society for Occupational Medicine and Environmental Medicine, "the mental pressure in many causes them to tense up physically and cause back pain." One more reason to keep the psychological stress at work at an acceptable level if possible. (fp)

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