Experiences of Police and Emergency Services Employees with Workers’ Compensation Claims for Mental Health Issues

Michael J. Kyron, Patrice O’Brien, David Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose To assess employees’ experiences of the workers’ compensation claim process for psychological trauma, stress or a mental health condition sustained during the course of work in the police and emergency services sector. Methods 14,868 employees (69.4% male, response rate = 22%) from around Australia participated in Answering the Call: the Beyond Blue National Mental Health and Wellbeing Study of Police and Emergency Services, and were asked questions regarding their workers’ compensation experiences for mental health reasons. Results 14% of all employees in police and emergency services organisations had made a workers’ compensation claim for mental health reasons. Only 8.2% of employees making a claim had a positive experience (95% CI 6.6–9.8) while 70.3% had a poor experience (95% CI 67.6–73.0). Two-thirds of employees who had made a claim reported that the process was unsupportive and stressful, and over half reported that it had an overall negative impact on their recovery. Employees with poor overall support from their managers and those who perceived negative stigma about mental health in their workplace were more likely to report poor experiences. Conclusions The workers’ compensation process is perceived negatively by most police and emergency services employees who have experience with it, and a majority found that it negatively impacted on their recovery. Ways to reform the system to better support employees experiencing significant functional impairments related to mental health issues should be urgently considered.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Emergency responders
  • Mental health
  • Police
  • Workers’ compensation

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