The psychological impact of workplace injuries has only recently gained the attention it warrants. Society mainly focuses on physical recovery because that’s the injury we can see. But mental health is as important as physical health. Indeed, poor mental health can cause physical symptoms to develop or worsen.
What can we do to heal our minds after a workplace injury and what happens if we believe we are not ready to return to work?
During your recovery, a nurse advocate is like a combination coach and cheerleader. They are there to make sure you understand and are comfortable with your treatment.
They serve as an additional set of ears and eyes during doctor visits. They raise concerns if you are feeling unsure about treatment.
And if you’re mental health is falling behind during your physical recovery, they can raise the issue with doctors.
Depression and anxiety are normal and require treatment
A workplace injury can be a major life disruption. Surgery, physical therapy, financial concerns, not to mention the accident itself can result in moderate to severe depression and anxiety.
Even if you aren’t feeling these effects, check in with a nurse or doctor. At the very least they can educate you about warning signs and what to do if you’re feeling mentally unwell.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and fear of reinjury
Post-traumatic stress disorder is generally not covered under Wisconsin workers’ compensation laws. However, it’s important to realize that PTSD, if left untreated, can linger for months or even years depending on your injury. This can radically affect your general mental health and negatively affect your comfort and confidence after returning to work.
Fear of possible future accidents or reinjury, whether irrational or not, can turn the workday into one long panic attack. If returning to work, or simply the thought of returning to work, causes distress, seek help.
Options for mental health recovery
The Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Act covers many mental health and non-traumatic injuries. Which injuries are applicable under this law varies depending on the profession. If you believe you qualify for such compensation but are denied, consult an attorney.