This post is a review of ideas provided by the infographic titled “Return to work: Differences between work-related psychological and physical injuries”, by Kurtis Oldham, Kinesiology Student.
The differences between work-related psychological injuries and physical conditions can significantly impact the return-to-work process. Researchers from the Institute for Work & Health and Monash University conducted a study in Victoria, Australia, tracking 869 injured workers over the course of a year. Their aim was to uncover the differences in returning to work between individuals with work-related psychological injuries and those with work-related musculoskeletal conditions. Participants were interviewed at three different time points over the course of 12 months, with the initial interview occurring approximately two to five months after the injury. This blog post will discuss the findings of this study and explore the differences between psychological and physical return-to-work processes.
The study's findings revealed an unbalanced return-to-work rate between the two groups. Only 28% of individuals with mental health claims returned to work after a year, in contrast to 47% of those with musculoskeletal conditions. This emphasizes the often hidden challenges faced by individuals with psychological health issues when attempting to come back to work. As well, the study highlighted inequalities experienced by mental health claimants. In contrast to those with physical injuries, individuals with psychological health issues reported lower expectations of recovery and lower self-rated mental health levels, indicating the psychological toll that these issues can take. The return-to-work timeline for mental health claimants was further complicated as they were less likely to provide a clear return-to-work date. This displays the urgent need for a more inclusive and supportive approach to help these individuals get back to work. It is also important to note the challenges faced by individuals with psychological injuries once they have returned to work. It was found that mental health claimants were less likely to receive essential workplace support following their injuries. This emphasizes the significance of a supportive work environment in the recovery of individuals with psychological injuries.
The study's findings provided new information regarding the hurdles that individuals with work-related psychological injuries face when attempting to return to work. These challenges not only impact their return-to-work timeline but also have long-lasting effects on their overall mental health and recovery expectations. Addressing these differences is important when creating a more inclusive and supportive workplace environment. We need to begin acknowledging the needs of those dealing with psychological injuries and create a better return-to-work plan for them. By doing this, it will create a better return-to-work experience for all injured workers, regardless of the nature of their injuries.