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Depression and workers’ compensation

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2020 | Workers' Compensation

When people think of workplace-related injuries, most of them conjure up physical ones such as broken bones, stress injuries and bruises. However, there are also mental injuries that employees may face, and depression is a common one. 

Work-related depression may occur after a serious physical injury. This not only affects the productivity of an employee, but it also results in additional issues for the company. 

Depression after an injury

According to EHS Today, when a worker suffers from a serious injury, medical bills and time off of work are not the only issues. Some employees may not be able to return to work for a while, and others may return but at reduced capacity. Reduced income can put a major strain on the livelihood of the employee, which over time can lead to depression. Chronic pain from an injury also increases the risk of depression. 

A worker with depression often takes longer to heal, which increases the costs associated with the injury. Along with reduction in the worker’s productivity, depression may also reduce the productivity of other employees, which affects the bottom line of the company. 

Employers and employees can help

Depression that affects the ability to work can be hard to prove, or workers’ compensation may not cover work-related mental illnesses. According to Psych Central, employers and other workers can help identify the signs of depression so the employee can get help. Signs may include: 

  • Withdrawal from social engagements 
  • Excessive fatigue 
  • Irritability 
  • Random crying spells 
  • Reduction in enthusiasm 
  • Indecisiveness and forgetfulness 

An employer may help a depressed worker by modifying work expectations and providing a healthy work environment.