Labour Market and Mental Health

Guest Lecture by WIFO Economist Thomas Leoni at pro mente Austria
"Epidemiological studies suggest that mental health problems are much more widespread in the working population than the statistics on sickness rates show", explained WIFO economist Thomas Leoni on 26 November 2019 in a guest input at a press conference held by pro mente Austria in Vienna.

Regardless of age, gender and employment status, mental health problems as diagnosed causes of illness play a much more important role today than they did fifteen or twenty years ago. The number of sick days caused by mental disorders has risen significantly since the 1990s, although their share of sickness spells (2.5 percent) and sick days (slightly less than 10 percent) is still comparatively low. However, the actual significance of mental illnesses for the well-being of the working population is only partially reflected in the sickness absences statistics.

"Numerous sickness spells that are actually caused by mental disorders are likely to be attributed to other illnesses because of their symptoms when they are diagnosed. It is also likely that the stigmatisation, which is still associated with mental suffering, results in underreporting of these illnesses, too", says Leoni.

According to Leoni, the preservation of mental health and the support of sick people are already central challenges for today's labour market and will continue to gain importance in the future in view of the ageing of the population.

pro mente Austria is the umbrella organisation of 24 non-profit organisations that take care of the needs of people with psycho-social illnesses in Austria.

Further information: www.promenteaustria.at

Thomas Leoni (WIFO), Günter Klug (President of pro mente Austria) and Gernot Koren (Vice President of pro mente Austria) © Harald SchenkThomas Leoni (WIFO), Günter Klug (President of pro mente Austria) and Gernot Koren (Vice President of pro mente Austria) © Harald Schenk

  • Thomas Leoni
Finalization: January 2019
Contractor project: Upper Austria Chamber of Labour
Finalization: December 2018
Contractor project: Federal Chamber of Labour, Federation of Austrian Social Security Institutions, Austrian Economic Chamber