Work and the Healthy Mind

Mental health disorder patients take the most sick leave from their job

(RxWiki News) In an effort to quantify the societal impact of health disorders, global researchers found a link between mental health and time away from work. 

A study by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) worked with samples from over twenty-four countries to determine how each disease impacted the working lives of its inhabitants.

"Mental health disorders affect the workplace. "

World Mental Health surveys were sent to all of the countries in samples typically representative of the nation, with some representative of particular regions or sets of regions to ensure quality. Interviews were administered face-to-face with 62,971 people completing both sections of the two-part interview process. 

Multiple regression analysis examined the association of each disorder with days out of work. The average number of days missed from work in the past year was fifteen amongst the entire sample, 15% of which reported mental health disorders.

Out of all disorders, mental health encompassed the top three disorders for the most days missed. Panic disorder patients took an average of 43 days off work, post-traumatic stress disorder caused just shy of the same, and bipolar disorder influenced approximately 41 days off of work per patient.

Other mental health conditions were as such: Depression, 35 days, phobias, 34 days, social phobia, 39 days, generalized anxiety disorder, 40 days, alcohol abuse, 31 days, and drug abuse, 37days.

W.H.O. authors open their study emphatically, reporting “days out of role because of health problems are a major source of lost capital.” With so many days out of work, those with mental health disorders suffer along with their financers.

Bringing this to the U.S., the National Institute of Mental Health reports almost five-percent of our population experience disability due to serious mental illness (SMI). SMI is defined as:

  • a behavioral, mental, or emotional disorder (excludes developmental and substance abuse disorder)
  • diagnosable within a year
  • meeting duration criteria in the 4th edition of DSM-IV
  • resulting in a functional impairment interfering with life’s major activities

A lot of people continue to go undiagnosed. It is important to contact your mental health provider if experiencing debilitating behavioral or mental health symptoms. Innovative therapies and treatments are appearing frequently. Talk to your doctor about what works for you.

Review Date: 
November 23, 2011