Sustaining a physical injury at work not only leads to physical pain and financial burden but can also profoundly impact your emotional well-being. In New South Wales (NSW), workers compensation claims may trigger emotional consequences that deserve your attention and support. This article explores some emotional repercussions you may face navigating the workers compensation process and highlights the importance of addressing these alongside your physical recovery.
A work-related injury can have profound effects on your mental well-being. Psychological injuries can manifest in various ways and impact every aspect of your life, including your work, relationships, and overall quality of life. Some ways in which your work-related injuries may affect you in a psychological capacity might include:
- Emotional distress
Injuries at work often result in emotional distress, including feelings of anxiety, fear, sadness, and anger. The emotional toll can lead to difficulties managing your day-to-day activities and strain your relationships.
- Work performance
Deteriorating mental health can significantly impact your ability to concentrate, make decisions, and perform effectively. If you have experienced a workplace injury, you may develop heightened fear and anxiety about returning to work or engaging in similar tasks. The fear of reinjury or concerns about workplace safety can create significant distress, leading to anxiety and apprehension about resuming your regular work activities. This fear can further delay your recovery and hinder your ability to return to work successfully.
- Interpersonal relationships
A physical injury can cause you to withdraw from social interactions, leading to strained relationships with colleagues, friends, and family members. The lack of support and isolation can further exacerbate the emotional burden. Prolonged absence from work, restrictions on your physical activities, or chronic pain can isolate you as an injured worker, contributing to feelings of loneliness and a diminished sense of self-worth. The loss of social support networks can compound the emotional burden associated with workers' compensation claims.
- Financial stress
Depending on the process required for your claim, there can be potential delays in receiving compensation benefits. The financial strain from lost wages and increased medical expenses can overwhelm you and your family. This financial stress can exacerbate existing emotional distress, leading to feelings of insecurity, helplessness, and frustration.
- Overall well-being
Work-related injuries can affect your self-esteem, sense of purpose, and overall well-being. The struggle to cope with the emotional impact can lead to a decline in your mental health and further exacerbate your condition.
Where can you get help?
Recognising and addressing the emotional consequences of your workers' compensation claims is essential for promoting your holistic recovery and well-being. The following measures can be instrumental in supporting your recovery:
1. Accessible mental health support
Obtaining access to specialised mental health services, counselling, and therapy can assist you in managing the emotional toll of your injury, so it is essential to speak with your treating doctor about how you are coping following your injury and getting the help you need early.
2. Engage in rehabilitation programs
Psychological support within your rehabilitation programs can facilitate a comprehensive recovery process by addressing physical and emotional needs. It would be best to discuss this and your emotional well-being with your treatment providers when engaging in any rehabilitation program so that you can immediately obtain the help you need.
3. Support programs
Feelings of distress and isolation after a workplace injury are common; if you're feeling this way, please know that you're not alone, and there are a range of support services available – including social workers, your nominated treating doctor, psychologists, and free community services can be accessed to provide support.
If you require support, the following resources may be able to assist you:
- Lifeline - 13 11 14: Lifeline provides free, 24-hour Telephone Crisis Support service across Australia, seven days per week.
- BeyondBlue – 1300 224 636: BeyondBlue provides free calls and chats one-on-one with a trained mental health professional for crisis support and counselling. Calls are available 24 hours, seven days per week. The online chat service is open from 3 pm – 12 am weekly.
- Headspace - 1800 650 890: Headspace provides mental health support for people aged 12 to 25 years and information and services to family and carers to support a young person going through a difficult time. Experienced mental health professionals staff the telephone and online support services.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.