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Why Mental Health Matters for Workers’ Compensation

John Lesaganich April 29, 2019

When you suffer an injury on the job, you will naturally have many concerns. How long will I be off the job? Can I afford these medical bills? Will I get any compensation from my employer? However, many often overlook an important aspect of recovery in these cases: mental health.

If you are going through a workers’ compensation claim you may be at risk for mental health afflictions. It is important to recognize the symptoms of mental health issues, so that you can seek proper help and speed the recovery process.

Causes for Concern with Mental Health Workers’ Compensation

According to a study conducted by occupational health consultant, Dr. Renee-Louise Franche, over 50% of worker compensation claimants suffered from depressive symptoms within one year of injury. Typically, subjects displayed depressive symptoms very soon after the injury occurred, however, some didn’t begin to have symptoms until close to a year later.

There are a variety of causes for depressive symptoms during the claims period. These can include:

  • Sudden lack of purpose or work

  • Realizations of permanent disability

  • Stress and anxiety when navigating claims

  • Uncertainty of recovery and future employment

Prevention and Treatment of Mental Health

Many times, workers are ill-prepared to handle the psychological aspect of being hurt. Feelings of inadequacy and anxiety from missing work may start to creep in. Social stigma over mental health issues may often prevent individuals from discussing their struggles.

Thus, one of the best prevention methods for lingering mental health issues is early intervention. However, if your employer does not have screening in place for those injured, you may have to self-advocate for care. Talk to trusted medical professionals about any changes in mood or symptoms of deeper psychological issues.

Why It’s Important

Dealing with the mental aspects of a traumatic accident is a huge part of a successful recovery process. According to studies, the presence of a mental health condition is indicative of a longer duration of work absence. In short, a healthier worker is both beneficial for the worker and the employer.

In Illinois, you have the right to pursue workers’ compensation claims for mental and psychological harm. However, these cases are often more complicated than physical injury claims. The main factor for these cases is proving a causal link between your work environment and your mental health issues.