People who have had a physical injury could be at risk of incurring a secondary mental injury.

A secondary mental injury is a mental injury caused by the primary work-related physical injury and can be accepted under workers’ compensation legislation.

More than seven percent of people with a physical work-related injury develop a secondary mental injury within 18 months.

It’s important to identify poor mental health early on and to encourage the person to seek treatment as these symptoms can impact their ability to recover from the physical injury and return to work.  

Working with our mental injury specialists, EML has developed a practical guide to help employers identify the risk factors, including some tips to help their employees and how EML can provide support.

“Some of the things an employer can look out for is hearing their injured employee talk about being anxious about returning to work, or being worried about pain, or the risk of re-injury,” says Emma Keys, EML’s Senior Mental Injury Specialist.

“They may talk about finding it difficult to sleep, or their relationships with others close to them are strained. These could be signs of psychological barriers or mental health symptoms and the sooner these are treated, the better the outcome – for the employee, and for the employer, as the person can recover and return to work sooner.

“EML case managers are here to help and there is support available,” says Emma. “It’s really important that employers maintain open communication with their injured employee, so they feel heard and valued.”

Learn more about how to best support an injured worked by accessing the guide to preventing secondary mental injury here.