More than a third of the population suffers from a mental disorder. These are data from the latest Report of the National Health System (SNS) for 2022. A problem that is reflected in the world of work, which closed the year 2023 with a historic record of sick leave linked to mental health, as reported in this newspaper. The total temporary disabilities due to mental and behavioral disorders, as listed by the National Institute of Social Security (INSS), of Spain, increased by 14% compared to 2022 and all communities saw this number increase up to its maximum levels. Desktop Code Image for mobile, amp and app Mobile Code AMP Code APP Code Withdrawals processed by the National Social Security Institute have doubled over the past seven years, from the 283,913 recorded in 2017 to 600,814 in 2023. An increase which was driven by the number of temporary disabilities signed in the Canary Islands, Melilla and Aragon, the three regions where the number of work stoppages linked to mental and behavioral disorders is increasing the most. “As a society we are more aware of the importance of mental health,” explains Isabel Aranda, doctor in Organizational and Vocal Psychology from the Official College of Psychology of Madrid. Desktop Code Image for mobile, amp and app Mobile Code AMP Code APP Code Anxiety, sleep disorders and depression are the most common mental health problems among Spaniards. Stress, highlights the Spanish Confederation of Mental Health, is one of the main causes of mental health problems at work. However, Aranda assures that it is difficult to categorize these pathologies, because the reason for the withdrawals is not specified. “What we know is that they can last up to a year,” says Aranda. Desktop Code Image for mobile, amp and application Mobile Code AMP Code APP Code The average duration of these temporary incapacities in 2023 was 111 days, or more than three and a half months. However, in some professional branches, the duration of sick leave increases to 156 days, as is the case in agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry and fishing. However, healthcare professionals, trade workers and those employed in administrative activities and ancillary services make up almost half of the national total. Desktop Code Image for mobile, amp and application Mobile Code AMP Code APP Code “It is essential to take care of mental health at work”, emphasizes the Spanish Confederation of Mental Health. “We must take care of those who take care of us,” warns María Isabel Moya, first vice-president of the General Council of Physicians (CGCOM). “The data is very alarming and the number of professionals affected by stress, anxiety and sleep disorders has increased significantly in recent years,” he emphasizes. Historical record 600,814 medical leaves related to mental health were granted in 2023. According to a report from Mutuelle Médica, this organization reveals that medical leaves for mental health among doctors increased by 247% last year. “Increased pressure and stress can be a powerful trigger for mental health problems,” the text warns. In all these cases, sick leave is not categorized as an occupational illness, but as a common illness. “With the harm that this entails, because if the professional origin of illnesses or accidents is not recognized, this entails harm for the victim, in terms of economic benefit, which is less,” denounces Ana García de la Torre , Secretary of Labor. Health of the UGT. “This also has an impact on their colleagues, because the prevention mechanism is not activated and the occupational risk is still present, so they too can fall ill,” he adds. Related news standard No Stress, anxiety, pressure… How do companies take care of the mental health of workers? Standard José A. González No Does modern work take a toll on our mental health? Raquel C. Pico A change that the International Labor Organization (ILO) had already made in 2010, but that Spain is still hesitant to undertake. “We have opened a social dialogue table in order to update the ORP regulations, we will work to improve the management of psychosocial risks, by demanding differentiated regulation of them,” specifies the union spokesperson. “We demand an update of the Spanish list of occupational diseases so that they are included. Furthermore, the table of occupational diseases must be reviewed and updated to include the gender perspective. With a woman’s name Mental health disorders affect the entire population, but their impact is uneven. More than half of the sick leave planned for 2023 bore the name of a woman. “Something that has to do with horizontal segregation, job insecurity, long working hours, job insecurity,” answers Ana García de la Cruz. Desktop Code Image for mobile, amp and application Mobile Code AMP Code APP Code According to the OSH Eurobarometer report carried out by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, “women tend to be more exposed to high time pressure and to excessive work (48% compared to 44% of the men surveyed), as well as violence or verbal violence from customers, patients, students, etc. (19% versus 13% of men surveyed). antropia_0674 Although the gender gap remains unchanged over time, the problem is getting worse at the generational level. “Generation Z is more aware of these issues, but also as we get older we learn to put certain problems into perspective. According to INSS data, since January 2019, sick leave due to mental health which has increased the most has been recorded among young people between 16 and 25 years old. The ratio is 46 per 1,000 employed young people, while for the rest of the ages, it is around 20 and 35 per thousand employees. Desktop Code Image for mobile, amp and app Mobile Code AMP Code APP Code The number skyrockets when tracking the number of working women between the ages of 16 and 25, within this range, 66 mental health-related medical leaves are granted for every thousand employees in this sector. years. Many factors impact the mental health of young people, including the scarcity and precariousness of youth employment, discrimination, childhood abuse, harassment, unwanted loneliness, abuse and addictions with or without substances. According to the report “The situation of mental health in Spain”, according to age, suicide ideas or attempts (31.8%) and self-harm (30.7%) occur more in the group of young people aged 18 at 24 years old. . The important thing, adds this psychologist, is to raise awareness that these health problems are important. “If your knee hurts, go to the specialist and if it’s mental health related, you should do the same. This does not mean being crazy,” adds the member of the College of Psychology of Madrid.