Mental health is the biggest single reason given for income protection claims, it has emerged.
Just under a fifth of all claims paid out by Irish Life were for mental health problems last year.
However, a comparison of claims made between 2005-2009 and 2010-2015 shows mental health related problems fell slightly from 22% to 19%.
The data analysis also reveals a significant decrease in cancer claims from 19% to 14% over the last decade.
However, claims by men for mental health problems increased from 18% in the years from 2005 to 2009 to 21% in 2010 and 2015, while claims by women decreased from 25% to 18% over the same period.
Back pain, musculoskeletal complaints, and cancer were the second highest for claims paid, with 14% of people claiming in respect of each of these conditions.
Injuries accounted for just under one in ten (9%) claims paid while cardiac conditions and nervous system complaints accounted for 4%.
Irish Life paid out more than €53m to more than 3,000 customers under its plans last year and the average age of people making claims was 49 for men and 45 for women. The average payment was just under €20,000.
It said the decrease in cancer claims was due to more people surviving the illness, benefitting from income protection and going back to work.
Meanwhile, Mental Health Reform, the national coalition for mental health, says Ireland’s readmission rate for people in severe mental distress was too high
Almost 13,100 people with serious mental health issues were admitted to hospital last year, but two-thirds (66%) were readmitted within the year, RTÉ radio reported yesterday.
However, just under a third of vacancies remained unfilled for clinical nurse specialists who are responsible for patients presenting with suicidal ideation or self-harm.
Director of Mental Health Reform, Shari McDaid, said the high readmission rate could be reduced with fully developed community-based services, as was recommended in ‘A Vision for Change’ 10 years ago.
“Ten years on, it is simply not good enough that no community mental health team provides 24-hour cover, forcing people in severe mental health distress to attend a hospital ED,” said Dr McDaid.
“Each catchment area should also have the facility of a crisis house to offer temporary low support accommodation, if appropriate,” she said.
Mental Health Reform wants Minister for Health Simon Harris to restore the €12m in diverted funding to mental health “as a matter of priority” and for the Health Services Executive to find a way the money can be spent this year on mental health services and supports.
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