Understanding Mental Health in Workers’ Compensation

workers compensation solutions

There is an extremely thin line that separates workers’ compensation and mental health. While both employers and insurers strive to reject mental health conditions as part of workers’ compensation coverage, claims for treatment due to work-related stress is increasing. 

Working with an experienced workers compensation provider network may help to get a proper psychiatric or psychological evaluation of your troubled employee 

A survey conducted by the American Institute of Stress finds that 83% of workers in the US suffer from work-related stress. It is the main factor that forces about one million workers to miss work on any given day, and the cause of about $300 billion that American businesses lose each year.  

Stress is definitely present in every work environment. But linking it solely to a person’s job is hard to establish because common mental or emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression can be caused by factors outside the workplace. Linking these conditions to any specific situation or condition in an employee’s work environment would be a challenge. Claims that include mental health conditions is one of the reasons why workers compensation solutions requests for independent medical examination are currently on the rise.

It is highly possible for some individuals to become mentally ill as a result of work-related stress, anxiety, depression or even post-traumatic stress disorder. Like work-related injuries, mental conditions arising from a person’s work may be covered under workers’ compensation. The challenge however, lies in proving that the illness is work-related. 

In order to obtain approval for a  mental-health related workers’ compensation claim, a claimant must be able to establish that their mental illness is work-related.

Here are some of the most common work-related stressors:

  • Bad management practices
  • Job demands
  • Physical work environment
  • Relationships at work
  • Change management
  • Lack of support
  • Harassment or bullying from superiors and workmates
  • Excessive workload

As an employer, you can be affected by work-related stress. The increasing mental health-related workers’ compensation claims is just one of its adverse effects. As earlier mentioned, work-related mental health conditions can trigger lost productivity, absenteeism, low-morale, and an increase in demand for opioids and other pain relievers. Your company can suffer from these factors because they mean costs. But you can avoid these negative consequences if your management team is able to identify work-related stress as their cause.

Therefore, even if mentally ill employees need to prove that their condition is work-related to obtain approval for their workers’ compensation claim, you must identify and rectify major factors that contribute to employee stress. Do it and you may attain optimum productivity, less absenteeism, and reduced workers’ compensation claims due to stressors at work.

Workers compensation solutions aren’t just about proper medical care for injured workers. It also covers identification and management of factors that contribute to work-related injuries and illnesses.