A new report from NHS Digital, based on its analysis of 12 million fit notes in England over a 28 month period, states that 31% of all fit notes are issued to workers because of mental and behavioural disorders.
The number of fit notes issued due to stress and anxiety-related illnesses has increased by 14% since 2015. Fit notes issued for psychiatric conditions tend to be for a longer period than those issued for other illnesses, with 21.5% of fit notes for mental or behavioural illnesses covering more than 12 weeks, compared to, for example, 2.8% for respiratory diseases. The lowest number of people given fit notes for mental health was in London. This is the first statistical analysis of electronic fit notes produced by NHS Digital, and future data will be published on a quarterly basis.