One-third in SA will get mental problems

2011-10-10 10:52

Between 15% and 30% of working South Africans will experience mental problems at some point in their careers, according to a consulting company.

About 30% of those would suffer chronic mental health problems, said Jacques Snyman, product development director at Agility Global Health Solutions.

The information was released to coincide with World Mental Health Day today.

“Acting as a trigger to severe psychiatric conditions, such as depression, stress can also lead to acute psychotic episodes,” said Snyman.

The SA Stress and Health (SASH) study ranked the country as seventh highest in the world for the prevalence of mood disorders and sixth for the prevalence of anxiety disorders.

Businesses should be concerned about these figures, he said.

An Australian study conducted by Medibank found that stress-related absenteeism and “presenteeism” cost the country’s economy AUS$14.8 billion (about R115 billion) a year.

For employers, the direct cost was estimated at AUS$10.1 billion (about R78 billion).

“Work stress is often ignored to the detriment of both the employee and employer,” Snyman said.

“Employers should adopt a more compassionate approach to their employees’ well-being by allowing them time off work to proactively manage their mental health.”

Agility Global Health Solutions is a consulting company that provides solutions to clients who pay for health services.

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