A fairly recent (US) study of about 368,000 workers has found that injured workers are 43% more likely to be treated for depression than their non-injured counterparts.
Indirect impact of workplace injuries and depression underestimated
Incidence and Cost of Depression After Occupational InjuryBy Asfaw, Abay PhD; Souza, Kerry PhD Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
September 2012 – Volume 54 – Issue 9 – p 1086–1091
In their study ‘Incidence and Cost of Depression After Occupational Injury‘, US researchers say the indirect effects of occupational injuries, such as the impact on a worker’s family life or mental health, are difficult to quantify and often excluded from economic assessments.
“This underestimates the true costs of occupational injuries or illnesses,” the researchers say.
Information for the study, which covers a three-month period in 2005, was sourced from a Thomson Reuters MarketScan containing extensive workers data from 16 large employers.
Workers who were treated for depression up to 3 months prior to the period were excluded from the study.
Of the 367,881 workers who qualified, some 6513 were injured and claimed workers’ compensation benefits in 2005. Nearly 3870 had an “outpatient visit” for depression within the study period.
“This implies that the likelihood of injured workers suffering from depression within the study period was 43 % higher than that of non-injured workers”
The researchers then calculated the “unconditional average cost” of outpatient depression treatment, and found it was 63 % higher for injured workers than non-injured workers.
The researchers also found depression problems increased in workers up to the age of 31 to 40, and declined among older workers. Some 1.5 % of women were treated for depression within the study period, compared with only 0.7 per cent of men.
“Although women, whether injured or uninjured, were more likely to be treated for outpatient depression, the relative effect of occupational injury was larger on men”.
“In other words, although fewer men were treated for post-injury depression, the before- and after-injury increase was larger for men.
“One hypothesis explaining this result is that men are more deeply affected by occupational injuries and therefore have a higher than ‘expected’ rate of depression treatment.”
Needless to restate that (more) seriously injured or ill workers are really trapped in dysfunctional and adversarial workers compensation systems which sadly offer a very bleak picture of mental health. It is truly and endless Cycle of Despair, since we become trapped in a never ending cycle of neglect and abuse that works against our ability to recover.
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