mental health

Six ways to get workers with a mental injury back to work – fast!

Six ways to get workers with a mental injury back to work – fast!

Mentally injured workers will soon have access to treatment before needing to prove their claim. Victoria’s new provisional payments for work -related mental injuries comes in on 1 July 2021.

In recognition of the value of early treatment for mental injury the new legislation entitles claimants to 13 weeks of treatment commencing even before their claim is accepted.  An injured worker can still access the services for up to 13 weeks from the date of the claim, even if the claim is declined. [ https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/victorias-new-provisional-payments-work-related-mental-injuries]

This will see thousands of people receive vital early intervention to help deal with work related stress and bullying.

What causes mental injury?

The latest statistics from Fair Work reveal the 91% of all claims related to mental health conditions were linked to work related stress.  A third of these were due to work pressure and 41% of mental injury claims were due to workplace bullying and harassment or exposure to workplace violence.

Other frightening statistics demonstrate that not only are workers suffering mental or psychological injury more likely to take time off work, but when they do, they remain off work for an average of 15.3 weeks. This compares with an average of only 5.5 weeks for a worker with a physical injury.

Key determinant of getting workers back to work

The Safe Work, Return to Work Report identified 9 key determinants for getting workers with a mental injury back to work. Six of them relate to the response of the employer to the injury, and the culture and attitude of the employer.

The report lists six significant influences on the return to work ( RTW) rates for mental injury:

  • Timeliness and supportiveness of the employer response
  • Perceptions of employer support and fairness
  • Decision- making involvement
  • Work demands
  • Quality of the people management environment
  • Strong pre-existing levels of individual resilience

It is not difficult to see that a high level of community ignorance, lack of empathy, and a culture of stigmatisation of mental illness have a direct impact on the ability of an employer to get an injured worker back to health and the workplace.

The influence of bullying and harassment on mental injury

Because so many mental injury claims relate to bullying and harassment, MyKludo recently ran a symposium on Mental Health and Investigations.

The webinar discusses the symptoms of the most common mental illnesses in Australia. The cost of mental injury claims, the impact of COVID-19 on the state of the nation’s mental health and results from the Return to Work Report on how employers can improve practices to reduce the RTW rates for psychological injuries. The Webinar also includes a conversation with Johnathan Wilson, a survivor of workplace bullying and harassment who acquired complex PTSD. Johnathan details his experience, the struggle with diagnosis and treatment, and his recovery.

Want to learn more? Watch our webinar

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