Effects of Depression on Workers’ CompensationSeptember 6, 2017
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology reports that depression can lead to absenteeism and lower productivity. The study reported that in the year 2000, workplace costs of depression exceeded $51 billion. By 2010 the economic cost to the United States had grown $210.5 billion, indicating that depression is a significant issue for employers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists depression as one of the leading causes of disease or injury worldwide affecting both men and women. According to the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, from 2009-2012 as many as 7.6 percent of Americans felt the effects of depression, with 43 percent of those with severe depression symptoms reporting that they experienced serious difficulties at work.
Workplace Injury and Depression
Sometimes an injury itself brings on depression as a worker’s life is disrupted, not only at work, but at home. The ability to participate in hobbies and recreational activities that once brought relaxation and enjoyment may be diminished or no longer possible. Moreover, a workplace injury may also mean reduced income, which can be a source of stress. If the injury results in chronic pain, the worker is at a greater risk for depression. Depressed workers who return to the job can also have an effect on co-workers, reducing the productivity of the whole group.
Although depression can prolong recovery from an injury, if it develops as a result of the injury, treatment may not be covered by Workers’ Compensation. If a worker has no access to therapy or medication, their condition could worsen resulting in even more time away from work or lower productivity when they do return. Therefore, employers can benefit from training supervisors to recognize the signs of depression and intervene when they sense an employee returning to work after an injury may be falling into depression. The most obvious signs of depression can include:
- Change in appearance or grooming habits
- Lower productivity
- Listlessness or sadness
- Difficulties with timeliness on the job
Employers can also be proactive by providing general education about depression as a health issue. Bringing in mental health professionals and physicians or therapists to speak about depression can remove some of the stigma associated with mental health issues and make employees more comfortable about seeking help instead of avoiding it. Ideally, a therapy or counseling program should be available to workers who need it. While the cost may be prohibitive for smaller employers, large companies can benefit from providing therapy that supports workers before they fall into the costly spiral of injury and depression.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman and Hamilton, P.A. Recover Compensation for Injured Workers
If you have suffered a workplace injury, you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits that cover your medical costs and lost wages. At LeViness, Tolzman and Hamilton, P.A., our Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers can help you file a successful claim and fight to win you the treatment and compensation you need to get back on your feet. Call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a consultation about your case at no cost to you. From our offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, Columbia, and Towson we help injured workers across the state of Maryland.