Poor mental health harming productivity in workplaces
LONDON - Reuters
AFP photoOne in five workers suffer from a mental illness such as depression or anxiety and these conditions increasingly affect productivity in the workplace as many struggle to cope, a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said on Dec. 12.
OECD found people with mental illness are often off sick from work, and between 30 and 50 percent of all new disability benefit claims in OECD nations are now due to poor mental health.
Policymakers need to find new ways to tackle the social and economic problem of mental illness, the report said, “Increasing job insecurity and pressure in today’s workplaces could drive a rise in mental health problems in the years ahead,” it said.
“The share of workers exposed to work-related stress, or job strain, has increased in the past decade all across the OECD. And in the current economic climate, more and more people are worried about their job security.”
Depression alone is already a major cause of death, disability and economic burden worldwide and the World Health Organization predicts that by 2020 it will be the second leading contributor to the global burden of disease across all ages.
Two studies found that up to 40 percent of Europeans suffer from mental and neurological illnesses each year, and the annual cost of brain disorders is almost 800 billion euros.
The OECD’s report found that most people with a mental disorder are in work, with employment rates of between 55 percent and 70 percent, about 10 to 15 percentage points lower than for people without a disorder.