Many in Copenhagen are so gravely affected by stress that they need help to avoid developing serious mental disorders and becoming permanently unemployable, reports Berlingske.
Especially young people and people with limited education often experience high levels of stress, which can be accompanied by mild mental illnesses.
Copenhagen, as the first municipality in Denmark, is now addressing the issue by opening public stress-clinics.
The City Council has agreed to invest six million kroner in creating five stress-clinics, which will be located at the existing health centers in the various districts.
The sick, the unemployed and the low-skilled
"With the stress-clinics, we are taking a huge step towards fighting social inequality in the health system in Copenhagen," the deputy mayor for health, Ninna Thomsen, told the newspaper.
"We know that stress affects particularly the low-skilled, the long-term sick and the unemployed."
Mental health matters
Thomsen also emphasised that, by introducing the stress-clinics, the city is ending its long tendency to focus solely on physical health.
"Preventing anxiety and depression should be just as easy as cardiovascular diseases and other physical ailments," said Thomsen.
Five percent in Copenhagen are stressed
One of the reasons for implementing the initiative is that data shows 23 percent of people in Copenhagen suffer from high levels of stress. Some of them have mental illnesses or show their symptoms.
Stress is also related to social inequality – 25 percent of unemployment benefit recipients, 19 percent of incapacity benefit recipients, and 39 percent of early-pensioners were hospitalised or got medication for mental illness in Copenhagen in 2011. This group corresponds to five percent of the city's population.
The service offered in the clinics will be targeted on 'areas with stress and stress-related symptoms'. People with chronic diseases such as depression or anxiety can also get support there.