Mental health top reason for sickness

MENTAL health issues has been the top reason for sickness absence among Caerphilly council employees for two years in a row.

In a Caerphilly County Borough Council report, mental health, stress, depression, anxiety, fatigue and neurasthenia – a weakness of the nerves – were the most common reasons for sickness absences in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Work-related stress also ranked in the top 10 across the two-year-period.


The top 10 remained consistent over the two-year period up to 2019, however heart conditions and high blood pressure took the 10th spot last year, and dental, optical and hearing took the spot the year before.

Making up the rest of the top ten in both 2017-18 and 2018-19 were musculoskeletal problems, digestion and stomach problems, infections, injury, back and neck problems, chest and respiratory problems and neurological problems including headaches.

In total, the number of days lost to short-term sickness from council employees decreased from 23,975 in 2017-18 to 21,609 in 2018-19.

Long-term sickness also saw a decrease from 54,142 days lost, to 49,237 between 2017-18 and 2018-19

Total sickness absence remained relatively consistent across the two years. In 2018-19 the absence rate was 4.38 per cent and in 2017-18 it was 4.78 per cent.

Last year, 46.17 per cent of employees didn’t take a sick day compared to 44.38 per cent the previous year.

In 2018-19 the council ranked 16th in Wales out of 22 councils for the number of days lost per full-time equivalent local authority employee due to sickness absence, including schools. Performance was 11.3 days per FTE, a movement of four places from 2017-18, when the council ranked 20th with 12.3 days.

The council report says: “To support the management of sickness absence, the council has its own occupational health unit, with occupational health physician, physiotherapist and nurse expertise provided.

“The council also provides a confidential counselling service via Care First that can be accessed by all employees.”

The council sickness absences report will be discussed at a policy and resources scrutiny committee on Tuesday.

  • For support with mental health issues, speak to your GP, or contact Mind Cymru on 029 2039 5123.

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