Fewer retire due to mental disorders

The number of disability pensions granted due to mental disorders has been reduced by one third since 2008. Yet mental disorders continue to be the largest single reason for disability retirement.

In 2015, circa 18,600 persons retired on an earnings-related disability pension. The main causes of disability were musculoskeletal diseases as well as mental and behavioural disorders.

The reasons for disability retirement varied per age group: mental disorders were the most frequent diagnosis of the 18-34-year-olds. The majority of those retiring on a disability pension due to musculoskeletal diseases were above 50.

The number of persons retiring a disability pension has dropped by 25 per cent since 2008. The largest change has occurred in the number of persons retiring on a disability pension due to mental disorders: it has declined by one third.

Depression is the most common mental disorder. At worst, it drove more than 4,300 persons into retirement in 2007. After that, a steady downward-trend has persisted: in 2015, approximately 2,900 persons retired due to depression. Although that is one third less than before, it is still eight persons per day.

Depression as a disease has not declined, so the favourable development is due to rehabilitation and improved occupational health care. Active preventive occupational health care has been supplemented with law reforms and projects.

One such project was the Masto project run by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in 2007-2011. The aim of the project was to reduce depression-related work disability.

“The number of people retiring on a disability pension has been reduced significantly in the age group 45-59-year-olds. The most likely underlying reason is that work ability is supported and invested in more than before,” says Tiina Palotie-Heino, Head of Statistics at the Finnish Centre for Pensions.

Mental disorders leading cause of disability

Today, circa 161,000 persons are on a disability pension. Of them, approximately 40 per cent (67,000 persons) have retired due to mental disorders. The second most common reason for disability is diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue, which have caused 44,000 persons to retire on a disability pension.

“People with mental disorders draw a disability pension for a longer time than those with musculoskeletal disorders.  Part of the reason is that pensions based on mental disorders are granted to clearly younger persons,” Palotie-Heino explains.

More information: 
Heidi Nyman, Statistics Planner, +358 29 411 2139, heidi.nyman(at)etk.fi
Tiina Palotie-Heino, Statistics Manager, +358 29 411 2147, tiina.palotie-heino(at)etk.fi

Earnings-related pension recipients in Finland