Identifying Depression and Screening for Workplace Injuries

Workplace injuries and depression can affect your health directly. Our injury lawyers in Ontario can consult with you directly.

Depression is the single-most disabling health disorder in all of Canada, impacting employees across the nation everyday. It is important that you are properly supported in the workplace when dealing with depression, a mental health disability that is often less accommodated than physical disabilities. If you are being mistreated as a result of a mental health disability, your chances of obtaining a workplace injury increases due to mounting mental and physical stress, further resulting in a prolonged period to manage your disability. As a top long-term disability lawyer, we stress that no employee should feel marginalized as a result of their disability, whether be a physical disability or mental disability; mental health awareness and mental health accommodation is pivotal to any workplace that properly ensures the health and safety of their employees.

What Is Depression?

Many people associate depression with unhappiness, but it is much more than that. Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) defines depression as:

Clinical depression, sometimes called major depression, is a complex mood disorder caused by various factors, including genetic predisposition, personality, stress and brain chemistry. While it can suddenly go into remission, depression is not something people can “get over” by their own effort.

Signs & Symptoms of Depression in the Workplace:

The primary symptoms of depression, according to CAMH, includes a sad and despairing mood that is present most days, lasts more than two weeks, and impairs a person’s performance at work.

Other symptoms of depression include:
– sleep problems (oversleeping or insomnia)
– loss of interest in work, hobbies, people, sex
– social withdrawal
– change in appetite and weight
– low self-esteem
– sluggish feeling
– irritability
– fatigue
– difficulties with concentration and memory
– inability to make decisions
– crying easily or feeling like you need to cry but are unable to
– feeling useless, guilty, worthless
– pessimistic mood
– thoughts of suicide
– hearing voices (hallucinations)
– having strange ideas (delusions)

It is important to note that certain forms of depression can develop under specific circumstances. When the winter months arrive with shorter hours of daylight and colder temperatures, some employees may be affected by Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). When female employees give birth to a child, they may experience Postpartum depression. No matter what the circumstances are, managing depression requires the proper support, access to resources and stable environment to ensure stability without stigma.

Depression In the Workplace: Facts

  • Every week, more than 500,000 people will not attend work due to a mental illness

  • Over $20 billion is spent by employers, every year, due to lost productivity in the workplace as a result of mental illness

  • Employers tend to better accommodate employees with physical disabilities or illness than those with mental-health illnesses or addiction

  • One in five employees deal with or have dealt with depression

  • Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace conducted a poll that showed:

    • 22% of employees were either clinically depressed or have diagnosed themselves as having depression
    • 63% of managers and supervisors said they would like better training to deal with employees who are suffering from depression (supporting the fact that employers are perceived to be more responsible and equipped to manage physical health issues than mental illnesses)
  • Depression is the single-most disabling disorder in all of health care, more than cancer

  • 80% of workplace employees and managers agree that it is easier to manage accommodation for a physical disability than a mental health condition (This indicates a need for an increase in workplace mental health training)

  • Employees are almost 3 x more productive at work after receiving treatment for a depressive episode, compared to those who had no treatment

  • CAMH’s Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Health reports that 57% of employees suffering from a severe depressive episode did not receive treatment

  • 80% of people with depression can recover when they receive the proper help

Governing Laws in the Workplace

“Healing and recovery require an environment where people are treated with respect” – CAMH

In Ontario, under the Ontario Human Rights Code, you are protected from discrimination and harassment when struggling with a mental health disability or addiction. It is your employer’s duty to provide workplace accommodation for your disability and addiction; this ensures that you can equally benefit and have access to your workplace and form of employment. If your employer suspects that you are suffering from a mental health disability or addiction and you need help, it is still their duty to accommodate you.

Workplace Accommodation & Disability Benefits

Examples of workplace accommodation for mental health and addiction include:

  • Flexibility in work hours
  • Flexibility in leave from work
  • Proper emergency contact and support systems if employee is in a crisis
  • Facilitating an employee’s access to seek and receive help / treatment (which means time off to attend things such as counseling)
  • If circumstances call for job restructuring, retraining or proposal for an alternative position, this accommodated without stigma

Never should you feel that your work is getting in the way of your treatment. If you find that you need to seek disability benefits for disability leave (either short-term disability or long-term disability) through your employee group benefits package, you should speak to your HR or manager about filing a mental health claim through your group benefits plan. Seeking short-term disability or long-term disability in order to properly manage and seek treatment for your mental health disability is your right and is why disability benefits are offered by employees. You do not want to find yourself struggling financially or losing job stability as you try and manage your mental health.

If you do not have group benefits offered to you through employee benefits, you can still seek income support and accommodation through provincial social service programs, such as ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program). These types of programs offer short-term disability and long-term disability income support, as well as coverage for certain things such as prescription medication and other out of pocket expenses you may endure as a result of your disability.

Workplace Injury When Suffering From Depression

Mental health decline, disorders and addiction are forms of disabilities that may require short-term disability leave or long-term disability leave. Your mental health should not be a taboo subject in your workplace; you are not to be harassed or bullied as a result of having a mental health disability or addiction. If you are facing constant questioning, teasing, or unfair treatment within your workplace as a result of your disability, this counts as workplace harassment and violence. No harm should be done to you; mistreatment by employers and fellow employees is a form of mental harm and can result in filing for a workplace injury claim.

You should feel, as someone who dealing with depression (a mental health disability) that your colleagues, managers, supervisors and employer are supporting you in seeking treatment from a health professional, occupational nurse, therapist or employee assistance professional. If you feel that you are suffering from workplace harassment as a result of your mental health disability, contact a personal- injury lawyer as soon as possible

Contacting a Toronto Disability Lawyer

When you are suffering from depression, you should never encounter a workplace that mistreats you as a result of your mental health disability. Facing reprisal or mistreatment from your colleagues, managers or employer is unacceptable; when you are dealing with a mental health disability, you should never be subject to workplace harassment or mistreatment. Speaking to a personal-injury lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and possible avenues to pursuit a case that can seek damages.

If you are filing an insurance mental health claim and feel that you are experiencing reprisal from your employer or a unaccommodating or harassing insurance provider, we highly suggest you contact a disability claim lawyer. If you are up against an insurance company that has denied your claim, and are considering to pursuit an insurance appeal, speak with a long-term disability lawyer who has a thorough understanding of insurance laws and your rights to benefits as a disabled individual.

TSF Law offers top services and expertise in personal-injury law, disability insurance, disability claims, and long-term disability. We have represented many individuals suffering with depression and understand the sensitivity and urgency these cases require. Contact us today; we offer free consultations and promise to always be there for you.