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May 28, 2024 Safety News

Mental Health: Key to Work Injury Recovery & Return to Work

Mental health is an integral part of our overall well-being, impacting every aspect of our lives, including our ability to work and recover from injuries sustained on the job. At Beacon Mutual, we understand the significance of mental health in the journey toward recovery and return to work for our policyholders’ employees. In this blog, we'll explore the crucial relationship between mental health, work injuries, and the path to returning to the workplace. 

"At Beacon, we know that the mental health of an injured worker has a direct connection to how quickly they can recover from a workplace injury. We know that when employers support their employee's mental and physical health, it can really help them on their road to recovery," said Keri Koziol, Managed Care Unit Manager at Beacon Mutual. 

The Impact of Mental Health on Recovery:

An employee’s overall mental health can impact their recovery from a work injury in various ways. Navigating medical treatments, financial concerns, or simply coping with the pain and limitations caused by a physical injury can add to the daily stressors an employee feels making it more challenging for them to focus on their recovery. 

Understanding the Connection:

When an employee experiences a work-related injury, the focus often tends to be on the physical aspects of recovery. However, overlooking mental health can significantly hinder the overall healing process. Studies have consistently shown that mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can exacerbate physical symptoms, delay recovery, and impede the return to work. 

Left unaddressed, these challenges can lead to prolonged recovery times, increased disability, and heightened risk of reinjury.  

However, there are a few ways to promote mental health for quick and effective recovery. 

5 Ways to Promote Mental Health for Quick and Effective Recovery:

At Beacon Mutual, we recognize the importance of a holistic approach to injury management that includes supporting an injured worker’s emotional needs alongside physical rehabilitation. Here are some strategies employers can implement to promote mental well-being during the recovery process: 

  1. Return-to-Work Programs: Implement return-to-work programs that accommodate the individual needs of employees, including any mental health considerations. Report a workplace injury early, provide gradual return-to-work plans, modified duties, or flexible work arrangements to support a successful transition back to the workplace. 

  2. Inclusive Company Culture: Cultivate a supportive and inclusive workplace culture that prioritizes employee well-being. Offer training for managers and colleagues on how to recognize and support colleagues experiencing mental health challenges. Check-in regularly with employees who have been injured to see how they are doing and offer encouragement and support as they recover from their injuries. 

  3. Early Intervention: Encourage employees to seek services early in their recovery journey. Services could include physical therapy, occupational therapy, rehab psychology, and chronic pain management workshops. 
    The Chief Judge Robert F. Arrigan Rehabilitation Center in Providence is a unique resource for injured workers in Rhode Island.  This facility offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary rehabilitation program that incorporates psychological counseling into their approach. tailored to the individual needs of the injured workers, offering them insights and coping strategies to help them through the emotional impact of their injury. 

  4. Education and Awareness: Promote awareness among employees about the potential impact of mental health on recovery. Offer resources and educational materials to help them recognize signs of stress, anxiety, or depression and know where to seek help.  The Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals for the State of Rhode Island is a great resource.  

  5. Communication and Support: Make workplace safety culture front and center. Foster open communication between injured employees, supervisors, and healthcare providers. Encourage regular check-ins to discuss both physical and mental health concerns and ensure that employees feel supported throughout their recovery journey. 

By creating a work environment that supports an employee’s mental health needs, it not only improves employee engagement overall, but supports employees who are injured on the job recover more effectively, leading to improved claim outcomes for both employees and employers.  

Together, let us nurture mental health to support a healthier, more resilient workforce. 

Beacon's Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Program

We are committed to providing you with insights and solutions that ensure a safer, more efficient, and prosperous workplace. See how our Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Program can benefit your organization! 

To learn more about developing a Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Program at your workplace, you can read about the program in more detail, register for an upcoming workshop about the program, or contact us.

Read Program Details

Beacon Mutual
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Beacon Mutual

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