Not all workplace injuries are visible to the naked eye. Millions of American workers suffer from something that cannot be fixed with stitches – yet is still just as debilitating as a physical injury. Depression affects nearly eight percent of Americans over the age of 12. Almost half of those suffer symptoms that impede work and other daily activities. To protect America’s workforce, employers need to treat depression like any other job-related injury or illness. Offering mental health education and training can help workers cope and remain productive.
The Cost of Workplace Depression
Clinically-depressed workers are often less productive at work or simply miss days. They are also more likely to engage in harmful behaviors like drinking or smoking. A study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology reported that depression cost employers $51 billion back in 2000.
Depression After a Workplace Injury
Dr. Lawrence Raymond, Medical Director at Carolinas HealthCare System, believes that for many workers, depression develops after a job-related injury or illness. A serious injury can disrupt a person’s life. Discomfort and pain, combined with a person’s inability to work, be active, and enjoy the hobbies and activities they love can trigger depression. Depression can also prolong a person’s recovery and hamper their productivity once they return to work.
Helping Depressed Workers
Dr. Raymond believes that in order to stop the vicious cycle created by workplace injury and depression, employers need to be vigilant. Supervisors who recognize the signs of depression in their employees, particularly those returning after an injury, can help them seek treatment.
Signs of depression on the job include:
Issues meeting deadlines
Change in appearance or grooming
Indifferent or sad demeanor
Difficulty transitioning back to work
Dr. Raymond recommends employers provide educational programs to teach employees about the risks and signs of depression, addiction, and other disorders. He runs a Mental Health First Aid program called HEALTHWORKS that trains and supports employers to be proactive in treating workplace depression. He believes that work is an integral part of a person’s life and it is the duty of workers to care for one other.
Depression and Workers’ Compensation
Depression can undoubtedly affect a person’s ability to function in the world. Yet, because the pain of depression is not as obvious as other workplace injuries, Workers’ Compensation claims for depression are more complicated. In many states, employee depression falls in two categories: primary job-related depression and secondary job-related depression.
Primary job-related depression happens as a result of something in the workplace like harassment or bullying. Obtaining Workers’ Compensation for this type of depression is more difficult. Secondary job-related depression occurs after a workplace injury and is more likely to be eligible for Workers’ Compensation.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Jeffrey S. Gross Handles Depression Workers’ Compensation ClaimsPhiladelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer Jeffrey S. Gross believes that workers with depression and other mental health disorders often have valid Workers’ Compensation claims. He is unafraid to tackle tough cases to obtain the benefits injured workers need to support themselves and their families. Schedule a free consultation with a Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer by calling Jeffrey S. Gross at 267-589-0090 or by filling out this online contact form.