Can you get workers' compensation for depression?

Dealing with depression outside of work is difficult enough, but when there is a stigma still present about this mental health condition, it can be almost unbearable to deal with at work. The Partnership for Workplace Mental Health and Employers Health have launched Right Direction, which is a campaign to education both employees and employers about the condition.

The hope is that it will help reduce some of the stigma and make people more comfortable with asking for help. One man who oversees Employers Health company's programs and outreach says that employers are aware of the problem with depression, but may not know how to initiate a conversation about it.

Depression statistics can be surprising. For instance, the number one cause of lost productivity is depression and it costs employers $44 billion a year. Claims for short-term disability continue to grow by 10 percent each year and 9 percent of the long-term disability claims in 2012 involved a mental disorder.

Another issue according to the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health's director is the stress that is often common at work. Someone with depression may have an even more difficult time trying to deal with stress, especially if their depression has not been treated.

The Right Direction initiative offers a questionnaire online to help explore whether someone is depressed. It's not just about hopelessness, self-criticism, withdrawal or irritability. Employers may find that depressed employees are less productive, have difficulty concentrating and more forgetful. Depression has physical effects, too. People who are depressed have twice the risk of developing heart disease and are twice as likely to suffer a stroke.

Employers need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of depression among their employees. If depression is related to work, then an employee may be able to file a successful claim for workers' compensation. An attorney can provide more information.

Source: Forbes, "When Work Stress Yields Depression It's Unbearable," Judy Martin, accessed Aug. 12, 2016

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