Today’s post comes from guest author Leila A. Early from The Jernigan Law Firm.
In 2012, suicides in the U.S. military were at a record high of 349, which was higher than the 295 American combat deaths in Afghanistan in 2012. This number is up from 301 in 2011. The Pentagon has had a difficult time dealing with this epidemic, which likely stems from military personnel being in combat for more than a decade in Afghanistan and Iraq, complicated by anxiety over being forced out of the military due to a “shrinking force.”
In 2011, 65% of soldiers who attempted suicide had a history of behavioral problems; however, only 45% of those who actually killed themselves had such a history. If there are signs that these service members were asking for help, they were not getting the help that they needed.
What’s interesting is that the U.S. military keeps statistics on suicides, and when the numbers go up to alarming rates the hope is that something will be done to investigate. For years, workers’ compensation lawyers have heard about suicides from employees who did not get proper medical care, who could not handle the abuse that sometimes happens within the system, and who could no longer stand the pain of permanent injuries, disability and resulting depression. But where are the statistics on these deaths? The insurance industry either has this information or it could get it. As a matter of public policy, should they be required to report it?
Today’s post comes from guest author Leonard Jernigan from The Jernigan Law Firm.
Several years ago I had declined to represent an injured truck driver until his wife called me and said she found a suicide note and asked me to reconsider. I did and was able to help him. I believe there is a connection between suicide and workers’ compensation. Clearly the pain of an injury, coupled with the stress of not being able to return to work can cause tremendous psychological strain.
One Texas doctor actually testified at a legislative hearing that prolonged decisions on workers’ compensation coverage in the state had lead to an increase in work’ comp’ related suicides in recent years. “The incidence of those reports has been astonishingly high compared to five years ago,” he told the legislators, “when they were, to my knowledge, nonexistent.”
Below are some signs that you or somebody you know may be at risk. This list of warning signals comes from the website of the American Psychological Association. If you see any of these signs, seek help from a doctor or therapist, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Continue reading
Many people are surprised to learn that mental disability claims due to workplace stress are compensable by workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, claims like these are on the rise as people work longer hours and feel the pressure of an increasingly competitive working environment.
A work buddy can help you feel less lonely and stressed at work.
Recent studies on mental health and the workplace have led researchers to discover that, over time, conditions such as extended working hours and long periods of solitary work can lead to decreased productivity, anxiety, and even major depression.
Employers can create conditions that are more supportive of mental health by taking simple steps like allowing workers to take breaks where socializing is permitted.
While it may seem initially counter-intuitive, studies show that in the long run policies like these can lead to a more productive workplace.
Here are a few tips workers can use to stay mentally healthy at work:
- Form friendships in the workplace. A positive relationship with even a single colleague can make a big difference in combating loneliness and depression. A friend at your office could provide an ear when you really need to release some steam or just take a mental break from an intense task.
- That said, make a distinction between work and leisure, and make time for Continue reading