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Mental health: 80 percent more mental illness in corona crisis

Existential fears and fear of the corona virus: In the first half of 2020, a health insurance company recorded an enormous increase in sick leave due to mental illness.

The number of mental illnesses has risen significantly during the coronavirus crisis, according to a survey conducted by the health insurance company KKH among its insured persons. According to the KKH, in the first half of 2020 it recorded around 26,700 sick leave notifications due to mental illness among its approximately 1.7 million insured persons. This was a good 80 percent more than in the same period last year.

It is conceivable that many people were unable to cope due to existential fears of losing their jobs and short-time work, fear of the new virus and the associated changes in their lives, and had therefore already consulted a doctor during the pandemic, according to the fund.

According to the information provided, the overall sickness rate was at a record level, especially in March. Employees missed an average of 7.1 percent of their planned working hours in that month. In the same month last year, the figure was 5.6 percent. The KKH recorded a peak level of women in particular, especially in Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, with peaks of around 10 percent.

According to the KKH, the main reason for the high number of sick days was colds. Due to coughs, colds and similar symptoms, two percent of the employees had taken sick leave in March. In March 2019, the number was only half as many.

Employees in child care and education as well as in care of the elderly and sick were the most affected by respiratory diseases. According to the health insurance company, the figures suggest that during the peak of the pandemic many people stayed at home with corona-like symptoms in order not to endanger other people. According to the figures, the number of sick days dropped again significantly as the corona rules were relaxed. In May and June, it was even slightly lower than in the same months last year.

In the first half of 2020, the KKH recorded a total of 523 sick leaves due to coronavirus infection or suspected infection. Here too, the nursing sector was the most affected. The average duration of the illness was therefore 12.4 days – the longest corona-related sick leave lasted 34 days.

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