Psychological complaints main cause of UT absence

| Michaela Nesvarova

Psychological complaints were once again the most significant cause of absence through illness in 2019, says the annual review of the UT’s Occupational Health Service Arbo Unie. The BMS Faculty is specifically mentioned as having a high number of referrals to the psychologist.

Arbo Unie (AU) reports that ‘differences between 2018 and 2019 are minimal’. In 2019, the average reporting frequency at the UT slightly increased and the absenteeism percentage was slightly lower.

Graph showing absenteeism percentage (in blue) and reporting frequency (in orange) . Source: Annual Review 2019 of UT’s Occupational Health Service Arbo Unie

However, the absenteeism rates of some faculties and departments were higher than UT averages. Three departments stood out: CES was at almost 7%, while FIN and LISA both had 8%. What Arbo Unie also calls ‘a cause for concern’ is that all support departments (not faculties) had a reporting frequency above 1.0. ‘Our experience suggests that a reporting frequency above 1.0 is often a sign of compromised job satisfaction, which appears to be the case at UT,’ states the report.

Psychological problems

If it comes to the reasons for absence, psychological complaints were the cause in 35% of all cases, with numbers comparable to 2018. On the other hand, the average duration of absenteeism caused by psychological problems decreased by 15%. Women accounted for 46% of days lost to the diagnosis ‘psychological reasons’, while men accounted for 21%.

One faculty stands out in this regard. The report points to BMS faculty, saying that ‘the number of referrals to the psychologist and/or welfare officer among BMS staff is conspicuously high’. According to Arbo Unie, this shows that ‘there is a high incidence of complex, long-term psychological problems within BMS.’ 

In line with the national trend, the Occupational Health Service has also observed an increase in the number of people who take sick leave due to historic mental trauma, meaning trauma experienced prior to working at UT. 

The full report can be found here.