Stress attack

Increasing absenteeism due to psychiatric disability poses a threat to benefit plans
By Todd Humber
|CHRR, Guide to Pensions & Benefits|Last Updated: 09/04/2003

Benefit plans are under attack from an enemy that is driving up costs and destroying productivity. It’s impacting about 25 per cent of the workforce, propelling absenteeism and disability claims higher. The affliction is mental health and, if left unchecked, it could have catastrophic consequences for business.

“It’s a major health problem, it’s a major economic problem and it’s a social issue of growing proportion,” said Bill Wilkerson, co-founder and CEO of the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health. “Statistically, we’ve pretty well concluded the running rate for the prevalence of depression in any given year is about 10 per cent of the labour force.”

Toss in the various forms of anxiety disorder, manic depression and schizophrenia and that number rises to about 25 per cent.