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Survey shows workers reluctant to skip work for mental health issues

Illinois workers' compensationShame and fear of being judged make many Americans less likely to take off time from work for mental health issues than for physical ailments, a Harris Poll survey said.

What poll results show

Only 34 percent of those polled said they had skipped work for mental health issues, according to the National Safety Council online magazine Safe+Health.

In contrast, 61 percent said they had missed work because of physical problems.

The online survey was conducted for the University of Phoenix from Nov. 8-12, 2018. Of the 2,020 adults 18 and over in the survey, 1,123, or over 55 percent, were employed.

Among reasons why respondents in the survey said they avoided taking time off to address mental health issues:

  • 46 percent said an employer wouldn’t consider mental health an acceptable explanation
  • 39 percent said they were too busy to take time off for mental health issues
  • 36 percent cited shame or judgment from co-workers
  • 35 percent cited fear of someone poaching their responsibilities
  • 33 percent noted a societal stigma around mental health.

Responses from those surveyed mean that many workers fail to take their mental health as seriously as their physical well-being, said Dean Aslinia, chairman of the University of Phoenix mental health counseling program.

Ignoring mental health issues impacts job performance, relationships and physical health, he said.

The survey also found that 55 percent said they had experienced “job burnout.” Among symptoms of job burnout and the percentage of those surveyed who said they had struggled with such symptoms were:

  • Fatigue (68%)
  • Anxiety (65%)
  • Anger (53%)
  • Depression (48%)

Workers' compensation

The survey comes amid issues such as workers’ compensation insurance for job-related issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.

Workers’ compensation benefits are an important option for many workers. State-mandated, workers compensation is a program that provides benefits to employees who suffer job-related injuries and illnesses. Each state has its own laws and programs for workers' compensation.

Does an employee have to be injured at the workplace to be covered by workers’ comp?

No. As long as the injury is job-related, it is covered. Workers are covered if injured while traveling for business, doing a work-related errand or attending a work-related social function.

Are all work-related injuries covered by workers' compensation?

Workers’ comp covers most, but not all, work-related injuries.

Generally, workers' comp doesn't cover injuries that happen because of: an employee being intoxicated or using illegal drugs; self-inflicted injuries such as if a person starting a fight; injuries suffered while committing a crime; injuries suffered while an employee was not on the job; and injuries suffered when an employee's conduct violated company policy.

Does workers' comp cover long-term problems and illnesses?

Injuries don’t have to be caused by an incident at work to be covered by workers’ compensation.

Many employees receive compensation for injuries that result from overuse or misuse over a long period of time, such as repetitive stress injuries or chronic back problems.

Workers also can receive compensation for illnesses and diseases that are the gradual result of work conditions, such as heart conditions, lung disease and stress-related digestive problems.

Contact Schweickert & Ganassin LLP Injury Attorneys today for questions about workers’ compensation for job-related issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.

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