Depression not a good reason for time off, say employers

Most employers do not view depression as a viable reason to have time off work, with one in five also admitting they would be less likely to employ someone if they knew they had a history of mental illness.

A survey of more than 1,822 employers by online therapy service Mentaline found that 52% said they did not view depression as a good enough reason to call in sick.

An even higher percentage – 59% – said the same thing about stress, and 64% agreed that anxiety was not a good cause for time off.

More than two-thirds, 68%, said they would be more sympathetic towards employees with a physical illness than those suffering from mental illness, while two-fifths also admitted they “struggled” to take mental illness seriously.

The findings came as Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat MP for East Dumbartonshire and chair of a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics, published figures revealing that depression cost the UK economy more than£9 billion a year in lost earnings.

This represents an increase of £4 billion since 1999, and a rise of more than £500 million on the previous year.

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