Increased understanding of mental health issues at work has prompted a steady rise in the number of UK employees claiming for psychiatric disorders on both income protection and private medical policies, Aviva reports.
In 2011, conditions such as depression, stress and anxiety were the biggest cause for claim across the insurer’s income protection solutions, which cover both individual and corporate customers.
However, according to Aviva’s research, a third of employees feel that mental health remains a “taboo” subject and over half of workers questioned think that physical illness will always carry less stigma than mental illness.
Of those who believe mental health stigma has decreased, around half thought that TV and press campaigns have helped and over a quarter of respondents said that celebrities who have spoken openly about their mental health have created awareness and understanding.
Claims data from Aviva shows that the average age at which employees begin an income protection claim for a mental health condition is 43, and the average time in claim for such a condition is nine years.
Of Aviva’s income protection claims for psychiatric conditions made in 2011, moderate depression was most common (28%), followed by anxiety (15%) and stress (12%).