Surge in mental illness highlights psychotherapist dearth

Surge in mental illness highlights psychotherapist dearth
Photo: DPA
There has been an alarming spike in psychological illnesses in Germany, but the country does not have enough therapists to handle the mounting problems, the BPtK national psychotherapists board warned on Thursday.

“In Germany there are by far too few psychotherapists, particularly in rural areas,” BPtK president Rainer Richter told daily Osnabrücker Zeitung.

While urban areas normally have one therapist for every 2,577 residents, rural parts of the country are forced to make do with just one per 23,106 people, he said. Germany also lacks outpatient treatment options, he added.

According to the National Statistics Office (Destatis), between 2002 and 2008 the amount of money spent on psychological ailments jumped by 5.3 percent to €28.7 billion.

Meanwhile a new report set to be published by health insurer TK reveals that antidepressant use has increased by 113 percent in the last 10 years, a spokesperson told the paper. The study also shows that women take a greater proportion of the pharmaceuticals than men.

According to TK, in 2009 employees took an average of 1.6 work days off due to psychological distress, an increase of 40 percent from the year 2000.

In metropolitan areas such as Berlin and Hamburg these numbers are 30 percent higher than the national average, the paper reported.


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