The Importance of Workers’ Compensation and Mental Health Issues

Employees in Michigan who are suffering from depression, stress or other mental health issue may feel there is nothing that can be done. For those in which the issue is related to the job itself, a workers’ compensation claim may be filed. Although proving a psychological-based claim is more challenging than a physical one, treatment and care is extremely important for multiple reasons.

According to Safety National, mental health issues are often related to work-related physical injuries and that not addressing the problem can lead to longer claim duration and early retirement. Over half of injured workers experience depressive symptoms within the first year after the original injury, and mental health issues are the leading reason for disability. Employers can help by providing early screenings to identify the employees who are suffering from a mental health condition so they can get help and set them up on a return-to-work program. 

Returning to work at full capacity is more likely when there is a focus on the employee’s function and ability, and a positive, respectful and supportive work environment is fostered. There should also be an integrated approach between the workplace and physician.

The American Bar Association discusses that although workers’ comp may cover stress and mental health conditions, the claims can be challenging so it is always a good idea to work with a knowledgeable attorney. Not only does the plaintiff have to show proof that the condition was caused primarily by work, he or she must also show that the mental health issue is a permanent impairment.