Mental health problems due to work-related stress can severely impact workers to the point where they’re unable to cope and perform their job. Fortunately, workers’ compensation is available under WorkCover Queensland to help those who suffer psychological injury as a result of workplace stress.
Feeling Stressed or Depressed at Work?
Anyone who works in a job will at some stage experience work-related stress. A certain amount of stress is normal. However, when work stress is excessive or persistent, it can be overwhelming and damaging to mental health. This can lead to psychological injury for which a workers’ compensation claim can be made.
What is psychological injury? It is a mental health condition that impairs a worker’s state of mind (their thoughts, feelings, emotions) and can interfere with their normal ability to function and interact with others. Psychological problems due to work stress is also known as mental stress.
Common types of mental health conditions that develop as a result of work-related stress include:
- post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- chronic fatigue
- adjustment disorder
The most common causes of work-related stress are:
- work pressure
- workplace bullying and harassment
- occupational violence
- exposure to traumatic events
Claiming For Work-Related Stress
Generally, a claim for mental stress is likely to be accepted when both of the following criteria are met:
- Evidence that a worker is suffering from a psychological injury.
- A strong connection between the psychological injury suffered by the worker and their job.
Generally, a claim for mental stress will not be accepted if the incident causing the psychological injury relates to reasonable management action. Examples of reasonable management actions include dismissal, retrenchment, transfer, demotion and disciplining of an employee.
Workers’ Compensation Payouts for Mental Stress Claims
Payouts for mental stress claims are the largest on average, mainly because these claims involve long absences from work. The benefits included in worker’s compensation payouts depend on the circumstances of the claim. They can include:
- medical fees to doctors, psychologists or counsellors
- loss of income
- rehabilitation costs
- job retraining costs
- lump sum payment for any permanent injury or disability
Suffering from Work-Related Stress? Seek Support!
Looking after your health, both mental and physical, is crucial so consult with your GP if you haven’t already. They can refer you onto a psychologist or other health professional if necessary.
There are also organisations who provide support and information for stress, anxiety and depression. The following are recommended by Safe Work Australia:
Claiming compensation for psychological injury can be difficult as the injury isn’t visible like it is with a physical injury. Parties involved can be adversarial because of the stigma associated with mental health which can also make the process more challenging and stressful. Should you decide to pursue a claim for workers’ compensation, it’s best to seek advice from a work injury lawyer with expertise in handling psychological injury claims to ensure that you get the best outcome.