This week, from 8th to 14th May 2017, it is Mental Health Awareness Week. It has been suggested by the Mental Health Foundation that two thirds of people experience mental health problems in their life, with more than 4 in 10 people experiencing depression and over a quarter of experiencing panic attacks.
It is important to consider the cause of an individual’s mental health problems and external factors which could impact upon this.
For example, when an individual is involved in an accident, in particular during the course of their employment, the consequences of this can go far beyond the physical injury which has been sustained. It is not uncommon for there to also be psychological consequences. After an accident, the injured person is left to deal with the consequences of what has happened to them which can often lead to anxiety, depression or even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) causing devastating consequences to the individual and their family.
The effects of poor mental health can result in an injured person having prolonged periods off work which, in turn, can lead to financial difficulties and further mental health difficulties. It can become a vicious cycle for someone who is already in a vulnerable place when they are trying to recover for an accident which is not their fault.
As it is time to become more aware of mental health, this is a call to employers out there who disregard their employees’ health and safety while at work. They need to make changes to improve the environment their employees are expected to work in. Increased health and safety improvements prevent accidents. Accidents being prevented avoid injuries, and the consequences that can follow. It is also a call on employers to put in place better support systems for those involved in an accident to aid their recovery. Improvements in the management of return to work, such as a phased return, can greatly assist in transiting through a difficult time in the injured person’s life.
The slogan of Mental Health Awareness week has been ‘Surviving or thriving’ therefore it is time to draw attention to the true costs of an accident and ask employers to stand up and take care of their employees’ health and safety while at work. It is time to adopt a working environment where employees are given the opportunity to thrive and can go beyond simply surviving.
Blog by Eilish Lindsay