Navigating Workplace Injuries: Mental Health Support Systems

Navigating Workplace Injuries: Mental Health Support Systems

Getting injured on the job can put a major strain on your quality of life and your finances. This stress can create a lasting impact on your mental health as well, making it even more difficult to recover from your injury and get back to business as usual.

When on the mend from a workplace injury, attending to your mental health is a crucial component of recovery. Not only should this wellness support be at the forefront of your priorities, but it should be equally important to your employer as well.

Below are some helpful strategies for creating a personal mental health support system as an injured employee, along with some notes for employers about how to include mental wellness support into everyday business processes.

Developing a Personal Support System

A workplace injury can create stress and anxiety for people that transcends into long-term mental illnesses, making it extremely difficult or nearly impossible to return to the job. Having a firm support system in place will help mitigate the adverse mental health effects that workplace injuries can cause.

Your support system can contain a mix of friends, family, and mental health professionals. Regularly attending therapy sessions can help you develop healthy coping habits and firm goals while you are actively recovering from injury at home. At the same time, recovery shouldn’t be all work and no play. Enjoy a hobby like crocheting, making music, or painting with a loved one. This will restore a sense of productivity without the task feeling overwhelmingly like work or duty.

Offering Mental Health Support for Affected Employees

Workplace injury-related mental health decline is a serious issue that must be addressed by the employer. Nearly 70% of all disability claims regarding disease are due to mental illness development. The amount of workers who require time off to deal with mental illnesses has increased alarmingly since 2000, exceeding 85%. Since these health concerns are so prevalent in the workplace, mental health support is a must-have business practice that can encourage workplace safety, prevent burnout, and stimulate a quicker recovery from job-related injuries.

As a proactive effort, supervisors should conduct routine check-ins with employees. Since some team members may not feel comfortable divulging mental health information to HR representatives or direct overseers, you can appoint a team lead to conduct these check-ins instead. You can also offer digital check-in surveys.

Employees who are suffering from workplace injury should be offered flexibility and increased understanding at this time. Though productivity is important, you cannot stress this at the expense of your employees’ wellness.

Anticipating your employees’ needs is incredibly helpful — often, team members won’t be entirely transparent about their condition and overwork themselves. Even when they are ready to return to work, offering remote or hybrid work models when possible can make a huge difference. If their position is more hands-on, offer low-impact duties or additional assistance without your team member having to ask for it.

You should address your current business processes for these situations to determine whether these operations are in your employees’ best interests. When you take the time to reevaluate injury-related business practices, it actively encourages team members to take an adequate amount of time to fully recover from workplace injuries. This can not only boost employee retention and productivity, but it can also be potentially life-saving for those struggling with mental health issues.

Important Healthcare & Company Benefits for Employee Mental Wellness

As a business owner, distributing quality healthcare and life-enhancing company benefits should be a primary concern. For healthcare to be categorically “quality,” it should be safe, efficient, equitable, timely, and patient-forward. With this in mind, choose a company healthcare provider that encompasses this ethos while also offering key company benefits that help maximize employee mental wellness.

These benefits can include:

  • EAP Assist (Employee Assistance Program): Programs like these can help injured employees receive counselling, health advocates, wellness technology like Smart Bands, and more.
  • Paid Gym Memberships: Employees can receive fully funded or subsidized memberships to gyms or wellness clubs of their choice.
  • Subsidized Holistic Wellness: If holistic services, like acupuncture or mindfulness-based stress reduction, are not covered by the company insurance plan, offer to pay for a portion of this treatment for employees injured on the job.

You can also offer a company-wide mental health stipend for all employees, which covers services like therapy, medication, mental wellness workshops, and more. Whether you’re a business owner or an employee, understanding your injury-related needs and working proactively to confront them can keep prominent mental illness developments from taking control of your life and career.

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