Anxiety tops long-term sick leave list

Depression and anxiety are now the most common reasons for people starting to claim long-term sickness benefits, according to research.

They have overtaken musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain, which used to prompt most such claims, academics at King’s College London said.

The researchers called for more to be done to help people with depression return to work, the British Medical Journal reports.

Led by psychiatrist Max Henderson, the researchers write: “Both employers and patients require a speedier response than is currently delivered, as the longer an individual remains off work, the more difficult a return becomes.”

The CBI said nearly two-thirds of employers have formal rehabilitation arrangements to assist employees returning to work, including flexible working, counselling, medical treatment and training courses.

More than three-quarters of employers also have arrangements to help employees suffering from stress, including job reorganisation and access to occupational health services, which could help prevent more serious problems, the CBI said.

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