Mental Illness is the leading cause for work absence in 2013

The annual report entitled ‘Public Mental Health’ commissioned by Chief Medical officer Dame Sally Davies makes 14 recommendations to improve public mental health services.

Mental illness is the leading cause for work absences in 2013 accounting for 70 million sick days.

Highlights from the report include:

  • mental health is just as important as physical health, mental health services need to be valued and the scale of the burden of disease caused by mental illness needs to be acknowledged
  • more needs to be done to help people with mental illness stay in work, as since 2009, the number of working days lost to ‘stress, depression and anxiety’ has increased by 24% and the number lost to serious mental illness has doubled

Some of the key recommendations related mental illness in the workplace:

Employment is central to mental health and it needs to be a routine part of patient records. So, the Health and Social Care Information Centre, working with the Royal College of General Practitioners and other Royal Colleges, should review the existing taxonomy for the routine collection of employment data to ensure that it is usable and can be coded across all care settings. Employment status should then become a routine part of all patient records. NICE should analyse the cost benefit of providing a fast and efficient integrated pathway for psychiatric provision for people with mental illness, who risk falling out of work, aimed at maximising their ability to stay in work.

Read the full report online: www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/351629/Annual_report_2013_1.pdf

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