Help! I may have a work-related mental illness. What can I do?

by Australian Accident Helpline

If your psychological health has suffered as a result of your work, you may be entitled to make a no win, no fee workers’ compensation claim. While claims of this nature are more commonly associated with physical injuries sustained in the course of duties, stress-related workers’ compensation claims have doubled in recent years and now cost the Australian economy an estimated $10 billion each year, according to Safe Work Australia.

If you think you may have been mentally impaired as a result of your employment, here are the important steps you need to take towards receiving financial compensation.

  • The first and most important task is to identify and verify the nature of your illness. To do so you will have to visit a doctor or a psychiatrist.

People inevitably connect mental workplace issues to soldiers suffering post traumatic stress disorders, police, prison workers and social and welfare workers, but according to Safe Work Australia, 91% of workers compensation claims involving a mental health condition were broadly linked to work-related stress or mental stress with 41% of claims caused by harassment, bullying or exposure to violence.

  • Is there not a stigma, or at least justifiable fear, associated with stepping forward with mental stress problems resulting in a person being labelled “loony”.

It is important for those suffering mental stress issues to realise that their ailments are far more widespread than most people realise. Approximately 45% of Australians aged between 16 and 85 will experience a mental illness at some point in their life, according to the Australian Human Rights Commission. Most workers will be able to successfully manage their illness without it affecting their work, but the Commission warns that an unhealthy work environment or workplace incident can contribute to the onset of mental illness as a result of excessive stress.

  • What do bosses, or owners, of businesses need to know about mental illness.

Safe Work Australia has supported the assertion that a mentally healthy workplace is good for business by revealing that 3.2 days per workers are lost each year through workplace stress and compensation claims have doubled in recent years, with businesses losing over $6.5 billion annually as a result of failing to provide early intervention or treatment.

  • Once I have identified that I have a mental illness and wish to make a claim, what should I do next?

You can represent yourself in the claims process, but for the same reason that you would want a medical doctor to treat physical injury or a mechanic to repair cars, it would make sense to hire a lawyer. Considering you might be up against some high-powered lawyers in the claims process, it would help to have a heavyweight in your corner.

Contacting Australian Accident Helpline on 1800 106 107 is a good first port of call. We will listen carefully to your story and provide you with free advice and support. From there, if you would like to pursue a claim, we will transfer you to one of our lawyers who handles cases like yours.

All claims are dealt with according to our strict no win no dramas policy, so win or lose, you won’t be left out of pocket.

AAH has lawyers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Darwin.

Call us today and tomorrow you could be one day closer to your compensation.


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