October 9, 2018

Sick junior employees

According to the 2018 BARMER-Arztreport (physician report), an increasing number of young people are suffering from depressions, anxiety disorders, and other mental illnesses. Among them many students.

“For thousands of students, the cheerful student life turns out to be an absolute nightmare,” says Professor Christoph Straub, CEO of German health insurance company BARMER. A growing number of graduates are not able to live up to their own expectations or withstand the pressure to perform at university. They suffer from panic attacks, fears for the future, and depression, which leads to them abandoning their studies and, in the worst cases, to existential, life-threatening crises.

According to the 2018 BARMER-Arztreport, every sixth student in Germany is affected by at least one mental illness. The risk increases as they grow older, while with non-students it de-creases from age 25. A total of 470,000 young students are affected; 86,000 of these suffer from depression. According to the World Health Organization, depression will become the second most common disease by 2020.

Not only students are affected

Based on the report, this mental disorder epidemic is by no means limited to students. In 2016, a quarter of all 18 to 25-year-olds suffered from depression, anxiety disorders, or panic attacks. The number of findings has increased by 38 percent within ten years. In 2005, about 1.4 million young adults suffered from mental disorders, but this had risen to 1.9 million by 2016.

To contain the problem, BARMER believes that it’s important to reach out to those affected as early as possible. The later the treatment begins, the higher the risk of chronic illness—in many cases with a devastating outcome. Shame, a lack of information and the belief that they can fix the problem themselves stop many people from seeing a physician. The health insurance industry is trying to counteract this with offers for the smartphone generation: Apps and online training, such as StudiCare and PRO Mind are intended to lower the inhibition threshold and help young adults distinguish between minor mental disorders and serious illnesses. The EU-sponsored platform eMEN also provides an overview of various, tested e-health products for mental illnesses.