Number of burn-outs 66 percent up in 3 years' time: "Extra pandemic on top of corona"

The number employees battling mental problems has risen dramatically in recent years. The figures come from the independent health mutual and were published by De Tijd.

The figures compare last year to 2018. The number of employees staying home with a burn-out went up 66 percent, while there are 12 percent more employees battling depression. 

"Looking at the trends between 2018 and 2021, we see that the number of psychological issues is growing a lot faster than physical woes", says expert Luk Bruyneel of the Independent Health Mutuals. "This is a major reason for concern. In fact, this is an extra pandemic on top of the corona pandemic."  

The independent health mutuals have 2 million members. Last year, almost 79,000 employees were declared unfit to continue working, among which:

  • 9,493 cases were linked to a burn-out (+66 percent compared to 2018) 
  • 5,937 to a depression (+12 percent)
  • 1,553 cases to dysthemia of chronic depression (+26 percent)
  • 1,212 cases of fatigue and general bad feeling (+34 percent)
  • 685 cases of stress and anxiety disorder (+22 percent)

The care sector is particularly hit

"We see that the care sector is particularly hit", adds Bruyneel. "In this sector, the number of burn-outs has even doubled between 2018 and 2021. This is a major problem and can be linked to the big shortage of staff."  

Experts see different reasons for the rise of the various figures: more people in work means more mental and physical complaints, people have to work longer as their retirement age is being postponed, which triggers fresh complaints among older staff, and work pressure on the work floor has risen, impacting on the employees' well-being.  

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