British workers are reluctant to take time off work with depression

by Sharine Burgess

British workers are reluctant to take time off work with depression

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One in four workers diagnosed with depression don't tell the boss for fear of losing their job.

A MORI survey conducted at the beginning of October on behalf of the European Depression Association (EDA) showed that while the highest incidence of diagnosed depression in the workplace was in the UK, British workers suffering from depression were less likely than those in Germany or Denmark to take time off work as a result of their illness.

The survey was carried out for the EDA in the UK, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Turkey, Spain and France. Overall, 7,000 workers polled confirmed they had received a diagnosis of depression, with the highest rate exhibited in the UK (26%) and the lowest in Italy where the figure was just 12%. Among workers experiencing depression, those in Germany (61%), Denmark (60%), and Britain (58%) were most likely to take time off work, while those in Turkey were the least likely (25%).

One in four workers diagnosed with depression said they did not tell their employer because they were worried it could put their job at risk. Dr Vincenzo Costigliola, president of the EDA, said: "The results of the survey show that much needs to be done in raising awareness and supporting employees and employers in recognising and managing depression in the workplace. Policymakers should consider the impact of depression when looking at workplace safety."

There has been a rise in absences from work due to depression and other mental illness caused by stress at work. This trend is likely to continue with more people being increasingly worried about keeping their job or feeling they have less control over their work. Whatever the cause of stress in the workplace, it's clear that stress-induced illness (physical or psychiatric) is a significant and growing concern and employers and employees alike should be vigilant in recognising the signs and taking steps to deal with the problem.

Making a stress at work claim


The idea of bringing a claim against your employer, especially over a mental health problem you've suffered due to occupational stress, may seem a daunting prospect but you may have good grounds for compensation. You can rest assured that we have considerable expertise in this area of law and can give you the right advice about whether you are entitled to make a claim. Contact us online or call our helpline number on 03700 868 686. This article is for your general information only and should not be used as a substitute for specific legal advice.

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