London: A report by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said on Monday that one 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.
The 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.
The report further said that policymakers should discovers new ways to control the social and economic problem of mental illness.
“Increasing job insecurity and pressure in today’s workplaces could drive a rise in mental health problems in the years ahead,” it said.
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 published in September and October 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.
But people with mental illness are two to three times as likely to be unemployed as people with no mental health problems. This gap represents an economic major loss, the report said.
“Most common mental disorders can get better, and the employment chances be improved, with adequate treatment,” the OECD said.
But it said health systems in most countries were narrowly focused on treating people with severe disorders such as schizophrenia, who account for only a quarter of all sufferers.