Is Your Job Impacting Your Mental Health?
Work is stressful. Whether you are sitting in traffic on the morning commute, juggling multiple responsibilities, dealing with irate customers, spending long hours at the office or worrying about how to stretch your paycheck, everyone experiences some degree of frustration on the job. Intensely stressful workplace situations can have a negative impact on your mental health. If a work-related mental health condition is affecting your ability to do your job, how can you protect yourself and your finances?
Workers’ compensation could be the answer. Colorado law now recognizes certain mental health conditions – specifically, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – as work-related injuries eligible for compensation. Originally enacted to benefit emergency first responders, this law was expanded in July 2018 to cover a broader class of employees. As a result, workers who experience trauma or similarly high levels of stress on the job may be entitled to recover for mental health injuries, even if the trauma is considered a normal aspect of their job and even when there is no associated physical injury.
To determine if you may be eligible for coverage, consult with an experienced Colorado Springs workers’ compensation attorney today.
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
The American Psychiatric Association defines PTSD as a disorder that can affect people who have been directly or indirectly exposed to traumatic events involving death, violence, abuse or assault. Approximately 3.5 percent of adults in the United States suffer from PTSD, with one out of every 11 people estimated to be diagnosed with PTSD at some point during their life.
Some of the symptoms of PTSD include:
- Re-experiencing the traumatic event through flashbacks or nightmares;
- Intense, disturbing or intrusive thoughts related to the traumatic event;
- Avoiding reminders of the event, including people or places associated with it;
- Feelings of fear, anger, sadness or irritability;
- Physical reactions to loud or sudden noises; and
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
People experiencing these symptoms persistently for at least a month after having been exposed to a traumatic event or environment are most likely to be diagnosed with PTSD.
How Might PTSD Occur on the Job?
PTSD can occur on the job both as a result of singular traumatic events (or the threat of a traumatic event) or through routine exposure to traumatic conditions. For example, PTSD may impact:
- Firefighters, police officers, emergency workers, and doctors or hospital staff who respond to distressing incidents or natural disasters and their aftermath;
- Construction workers, factory workers, or mine workers who witness gruesome worksite injuries or fatalities; or
- Teachers and staff who experience a school or workplace shooting.
Think You Might Have Job-Related PTSD? Contact a Colorado Springs Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you are experiencing the symptoms of PTSD, seek out the help of a qualified mental health professional. You should also seek out mental health care if you have experienced trauma in the workplace even without any evidence of symptoms. The symptoms of PTSD may not materialize for weeks or even months after a traumatic event. If you qualify for a workers’ compensation claim, it will be important to have documentation of your symptoms and consistent treatment.
No one should have to worry about medical expenses or losing their source of income after experiencing mental distress while on the job. A Colorado Springs workers compensation attorney can help you get back on track. If you or a loved one may have a workers’ compensation claim, contact us today at 719-471-3000 or schedule a free consultation.