One third of early pensions are psychological

Mental illness in northeastern Germany is often the cause of early retirement

Mental illnesses are often the cause of disability and early retirement. According to the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), northeastern Germany has “more than one in three early pensions due to psychological reasons.” Between 2009 and 2011, early retirement as a result of mental illness increased by 15 percent.

In 2011, around 2,300 women and men retired early in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania due to mental health problems, the Techniker Krankenkassen announced in Schwerin on Thursday. Those affected had to deal with such severe mental disorders that their professional ability was no longer guaranteed and early retirement was necessary. The Techniker Krankenkasse only hinted at what causes the significant increase in occupational disability as a result of psychological complaints is only hinted at in the current press release. "Time pressure, constant availability and the fear of the job do not leave many people without a trace," explained Wiebke Arps, consultant for occupational health management at the Techniker Krankenkasse in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Recognizing psychological stress in the workplace Around 1,200 women and 1,100 men left Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in 2011 due to mental health problems. Those affected had an average age of 48 years. In total, around 6,200 people in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania had to retire early due to illness. In view of the increase in disability as a result of psychological problems, it is "important for companies to recognize stress in the work environment in good time and to counteract the health consequences such as burnout or addiction," reports the TK. According to the TK consultant for occupational health management, "Managers should not make the topic of mental illness taboo and speak to their employees if there are signs of abuse" further.

Company health management is often neglected To date, the TK expert believes that too little attention has been paid to company health management. An investigation by the Health and Work Initiative has shown that "two thirds of German companies with up to 200 employees and half of companies with up to 500 employees do not care about the health of their employees at work", reports the health insurance company in its current release. Nine out of ten companies gave the priority of day-to-day business as the reason for the lack of health care. However, this appears to be an extremely short-sighted approach, because employees who fail due to illnesses in the long term also have a significant impact on day-to-day business. Occupational health management should therefore urgently be given more attention, although the focus can also be given to the specific health risk in the individual companies. The Techniker Krankenkasse has, according to its own information, provided advice on occupational health management for over ten years and has so far trained "the management and employees in occupational health management in 840 companies throughout Germany". (fp)

Image: Gerd Altmann /

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