A person’s physical health often directly impacts their mental health. For example, it is common for individuals to develop symptoms of depression if a severe bodily injury or disability keeps them from participating in activities they used to enjoy.
The American Journal of Industrial Medicine recently published the findings of a study about this correlation that began in the 1990s. And injured workers in Maryland and across the nation should know the grim results of this study, so they can take action to protect their health.
New study: Work injuries increase other health risks
According to MarketWatch, the new study found that if a work injury kept an individual out of work for longer than one week, they faced increased chances of:
- Dying by suicide: The study stated that injured male workers were 72% more likely to die by suicide. That rate increased to 92% for female workers. The risk of suicide ties to the significant negative impact that physical injuries have on someone’s mental health.
- Suffering a drug addiction or overdose: Male workers were 29% more likely to die from a drug-related injury after a work injury. Female workers surpassed that rate significantly at 123%. We have all seen the tragic stories of the opioid epidemic. And when medical professionals prescribe injured workers the painkillers they need, it could increase their likelihood of addiction and an overdose.
There could be other factors in someone’s life that lead to these risks. However, the study determined there was clear evidence linking work injuries to these events.
Compensation can help, but workers should focus on their mental health too
After an injury, workers’ compensation benefits can potentially provide Maryland employees with:
- Reimbursement for lost wages (Maryland Code, Labor and Employment § 9-602)
- Coverage for medical expenses
- Vocational rehabilitation
These benefits can significantly reduce the financial stress of an injury, especially if it keeps an individual out of work. However, this study shows that anyone who suffers a work injury must understand the risks that an injury poses to their mental health.
There is, unfortunately, a stigma surrounding mental health issues. But workers should know they can reach out for help to decrease these dangerous risks. Workers’ compensation might help with financial stress, and that should allow individuals to focus on their emotional and mental health during recovery.