Stress and Anxiety and Mississippi Workers’ Compensation
When discussing workers’ compensation, most people think of the physical injuries or illnesses they can sustain on the job that would result in them needing to file for benefits. However, mental health issues and stress can be just as much of a threat and require medical care and time off work.
While many things in your life can cause you stress and impact your mental health, it is also possible for your job to cause you mental distress. And if this is the case, you have a right to file for workers’ compensation benefits.
However, proving that you are struggling from work-related stress or that your mental health is suffering because of your job is more difficult than proving a physical injury. In order to be compensated for mental or emotional distress caused by your job, you will have to work harder to show proof that your work conditions or a specific incident are the direct cause of your distress. You will also need to prove that those conditions or the incident are beyond what you are typically expected to endure in your line of work.
In this situation, it is wise to consult with an experienced Mississippi workers’ compensation attorney. Applying for workers’ compensation under normal circumstances can be a challenge, so if you are applying due to mental health and stress concerns, you will need someone experienced in workers’ comp law to help you prove your case.
How Stress, Anxiety, and Poor Mental Health Can Impact Your Performance and Safety
Poor mental health and stress can have a negative impact on your entire life, but studies have shown that workplace stress can be even more of a threat. 83% of workers suffer from work-related stress and companies lose up to $300 billion a year as a result of workers who are impacted by workplace stress and anxiety.
This is because not only can stress affect a worker’s performance on the job, but it can put them at a higher risk of having an accident that causes an injury. Workers impacted by high amounts of workplace stress also tend to take more days off work for their mental health.
Overall, workplace stress can lead to:
- Distraction on the job. Being distracted while working can result in severe accidents and injuries—especially for those who work in dangerous fields, such as construction.
- Taking shortcuts. When a worker is stressed, they are likely to look for the easiest way to get their work done, which can put them at risk and can impact their productivity and performance levels.
- Substance abuse. High levels of stress tend to cause people to lean on drugs and alcohol to make them feel better. Unfortunately, substance abuse is not only bad for your health, but it can also put you at further risk of causing an accident at work or poor work performance.
- Violence. When a person is under significant amounts of stress, they are also more likely to lash out at people and act violently. At work, this can put other people at risk and can result in termination of employment.
Workplace stress can also impact your physical health in addition to your mental health. People who suffer from stress long-term because of their job are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, impaired immune systems, and musculoskeletal disorders. Long-term stress can also severely impact your mental health and wellbeing and can lead to serious psychological disorders.
Signs That Your Job Is Impacting Your Mental Health and Causing You Stress
It’s important to recognize red flags at work that could be affecting your mental health as well as signs and symptoms of emotional distress.
Common causes of workplace stress include:
- Unfair and unethical treatment
- Being threatened or harassed
- Physical assault
- Sexual assault and harassment
- Being forced to take on an unmanageable workload
- Poor communication and lack of clarity
- Unreasonable time constraints and deadlines
Common signs you are suffering from workplace stress include:
- Difficulty getting out of bed in the morning to get ready for work.
- Heightened levels of stress and anxiety when thinking about going to work
- Being scared to go to work
- Low morale
- Irritability and emotional outbursts
- Changes in appetite
- Frequent headaches
- Being argumentative in the workplace
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor workplace performance
- Drug and alcohol use
Applying for Workers’ Compensation Due to Workplace Anxiety and Emotional Distress
Proving your job is causing undue amounts of stress and severely impacting your mental health is not easy, but it’s not impossible either. The key is to work with an attorney and gather as much proof and evidence as possible.
To start, you should report the conditions or incident(s) to your human resource department immediately. Next, you should consult with an attorney. They can offer you guidance and help you understand whether you will be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim or not.
Some jobs are inherently stressful, and you might not be eligible for compensation if the stress you are suffering from is considered typical for your line of work. However, if the stress and your mental health are being affected by unethical and negligent circumstances, then you should be eligible to file a claim.
If you are eligible, then you will need to officially report what happened and inform your employer that you need to file a workers’ compensation claim. Once your claim is filed, you will then have to prove to the workers’ compensation insurance company that your stress and mental health were impacted by workplace conditions or a specific incident.
Insurers will try to argue that your stress is caused by something outside of work or that your stress is typical for people in your career. This is why it’s important to work with an attorney and to have evidence that your stress is work-related, such as the initial reports you filed with HR.
It can also be beneficial to keep a journal of your symptoms and when they started at work or what triggers them at work. Seeking help from a therapist can also further prove that your mental health has been so severely impacted that you needed to seek therapy.
You will also need to show that what caused your stress at work is not typical or usual. Working in healthcare, for example, can be an inherently stressful job, and you would not be able to successfully file a claim without proving that something out of the ordinary for that line of work is what caused the stress.
Connect with an Experienced Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you are suffering from mental distress and anxiety at work, our team of workers’ compensation attorneys can help. We have years of experience handling all kinds of workers’ comp cases, and we know what it takes to help our clients prove they are suffering and deserve to be compensated for their work-related distress.
For a free consultation with one of our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers in Mississippi, contact Lunsford, Baskin, and Priebe, PLLC. After-hours visits are available.