There is a curious little article in Focus this morning....over Germans and high rates of mental illness. DAK (a German health insurance company) had the Berlin IGES Institute run some data from DAK's database. What they had was information over 2.6 million people that DAK insures within Germany.
So, they came to this odd conclusion....one in every twenty Germans are on sick leave because of mental illness. They can even show a trend that the rate continues to escalate each and every year.
The highest area of worry? Depression. Since the late 1990s.....the number of sick days for mental problems have tripled.
Some health experts tried to explain this, and their logic was.....it' isn't that more people suffer from mental illness or mental illness is increasing.....it's because doctors are better trained to recognize this and provide adequate care to help the individual recover from the problem.
I sat and looked over issue. Anxiety, panic attacks, depression, bi-polar, impulse and addiction disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, PTSD, stress syndromes, Factitious disorders, sexual disorders, etc. In the 1970s.....they all probably existed but I doubt if doctors ever diagnosed more than ten percent of those affected. It's probably true.....we have enough specialists around in Germany today who can probably take in ten people with issues, and within a couple of sessions....reach some conclusion and ID the exact problem.....giving them some counseling or help.
Should the one in twenty number worry us? One in twenty Germans might be a little crazy or a bit stressed out? Here's the thing.....you as a company might have an environment that draws such people and maybe you've got forty employees.....of which you got eight such employees (creating a much higher pool of 'crazies' than the ice cream shop around the corner which has nine employees and no 'crazies'). Could you accomplish your work schedule with high number of mentally ill people? I'm not that sure.
One of the issues which a company has to occasionally face in Germany is the Kur. For a non-German....the Kur is basically a prescribed rest at a 'rest and recuperation' facility....typically a hotel out in some pleasant country environment where you check in for four weeks and go through a daily regime of counter-stress seminars, sports-related hours (walking, swimming, biking, etc), mediation-theme forums, and discussion groups.
Typically, when you show burn-out in Germany or serious stress issues....the Kur is generally prescribed fix to all problems. The cost? It comes out of the hefty monthly money that you and your company pay into your health insurance. A repeatable deal? Over a fifty year period....you could go several times.
Based on comments of some Germans.....generally you can only go once every three years. The effect? The German opinion goes from one extreme to another. Some Germans think just one session changes their lives entirely and jump-starts them into a different world. Some Germans think the whole Kur package is mostly about drinking and cavorting for four weeks....free. There are Germans who've never been to the Kur and laugh when it gets brought up. And there are Germans who've been several times in their life and expect to do another one or two before they retire.
The way to look at this entire report? If you are a non-German and hanging around Germans.....then start to notice nervous ticks or odd habits, or perhaps a bit of craziness.....well, there's not much to worry about because it's the one in twenty situation. Perhaps with the right health insurance and right doctors.....we non-Germans would also be diagnosed correctly and reach the one-in-twenty status as well. On the positive side.....at least it's just a one in twenty issue and not a one in ten issue.