MENTAL HEALTH & WELL BEING IN WORKERS COMPENSATION

Leigh Richardson, NCC, LPC, BCN, BCB

Clinical Director and Founder/The Brain Performance Center - AdvisoryCloudTM

DEPRESSION IS REAL

Depression is a real mental state with real physical & mental consequences, it should be taken as seriously as a broken bone or nerve damage.1 in 5 American adults suffers from mental health condition that impacts their daily lives. (Stress, anxiety, depression most prevalent for injured workers) Left untreated claim becomes unmanageable with poor outcomes and exorbitant costs. Mental health used to be taboo – Now we have to deal with it.

 

WHY IT MATTERS

  • Mental Health conditions are the most expensive behind cancer & heart disease
  • MH leading cause of disabilities in high-income countries, 1/3 of new Disability claims in western countries.  Growing by 10% annually
  • Indirect costs – lost productivity – absenteeism, presenteeism ($80 – $100 bil)
  • Claim duration is longer due to lack of coping skills and overutilization
  • More than 50% of injured workers experience depressive symptoms especially during the first month after the injury. Family members are 3 X more likely to be hospitalized 3 months after the persons injury.
  • Can happen any time – Why?
  • Importance of staying in constant contact to detect risk factors for mental health

 

CHALLENGES

  • Depression develops over time – lines become blurred
  • The “800 LB” elephant in the room nobody wants to touch
  • Stigma and social prejudice, cultural differences. Avoid negative words or actions to reduce the stigma.
  • Perceptions portrayed in mass media negative
  • Does treatment work?
  • Cultural differences – perception of pain
  • Medical Providers & Employers are Authority Figures
  • Family dynamics can play a role
  • Focus is on compliance, regulations, legal management – NOT the real problem
  • Medical providers work from tests, images – NOT feeling worker's compensation system?
  • How do we integrate behavioral health specialists into the
  • Mental/Mental claims vs Physical/Mental  claims
  • Claim professionals, taught to resolve claims quickly, easily

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • Ongoing communication.
  • Ask how are they doing?
  • Have they heard from their employer?
  • When do they see themselves being able to return to work?

“Claims leaders rank psychosocial issues as the No. 1 barrier to successful claim outcomes, above lack of accommodation for return to work, litigation, strained employee/employer relationship, and late reporting of injury, according to Chicago-based managed care solutions provider Rising Medical Solutions’ 2016 Workers’ Compensation Benchmarking Study survey of 492 claims professionals. “

 

      www.irmi.com/articles/expert-commentary/mental-health-and-well-being-in-workers-compensation