We have been working on a model that we believe offers a fairly accurate representation of what many injured workers are forced to endure in dysfunctional workers compensation systems. This model titled ‘Cycle of Despair’ is based on our survey results and many hours of of in-depth interviews with injured workers along with reviews of relevant mental health literature (Refer IWSN submission to the NSW Workers Compensation Inquiry in June 2012.)
Cycle of despair
The model consists of four major components that when taken together offer a bleak picture of mental health of seriously injured or ill workers trapped in dysfunctional workers compensation systems. Hence the reason the model is titled ‘Cycle of Despair’ since many workers become trapped in a never ending cycle of neglect and abuse that works against their ability to recover.
1. Coping with trauma. Injured workers are forced to cope with the impact of injury and illness on their life which is often accompanied by loss and grief associated with loss of previous functioning (physical and or/ psychological and social).
2. Trapped in adversarial system.They are then exposed to often sustained poor treatment by employers, insurers and the workers compensation in general.
3. Hopelessness and despair. Injury and /or illness are made worse and hope for a normal future often fades.
4. De-motivation. The ability to remain motivated and optimistic is reduced as the destructive cycle continues to be reinforced.