American employees are mostly unaware that, in many states, workers' compensation covers them for mental distress known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Military veterans exposed to shocking experiences during active duty service can develop PTSD; however, civilians can also develop PTSD if they are involved in or witness a traumatic event.
Many workers in high-accident professions can experience or witness violent events. If a worker suffers a traumatic injury event, it is still possible to develop a severe mental health condition as well as a physical injury. Even if a worker is only a bystander, indirect exposure to traumatic events can prove mentally harmful, says the Center for Workplace Mental Health by the American Psychiatric Association.
Indications of post-traumatic stress disorder
If one worker witnesses another sustain a severe injury, neither of them may realize the accident has caused them mental injury. A worker may have developed PTSD if they have one or more of the following symptoms in this partial list:
- Generalized anxiety or depression not related to any event
- Panic attacks when near the scene of the accident
- Nightmares about the accident
- General insomnia
- Hypervigilance when no danger is present
- Vivid memories of the accident while awake
- Trouble remembering things or concentrating
Each person who develops PTSD will usually not have all or more than a few of these issues; however, they may still need to see a doctor as soon as possible. PTSD usually is not a condition that goes away without treatment.
Eligibility for workers' compensation
Not everyone who is at the site of an accident or becomes injured will develop PTSD. However, it is important to realize that workers deserve to receive the help they need if they develop mental health problems on the job. This means not only obtaining medical treatment but also filing a workers' compensation claim.