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Mental health issues and the workplace

Discussions about health and the workplace tend to revolve around construction injuries or other machine-related accidents. Especially this month, which is Mental Health Awareness Month, it is valuable to discuss how mental health fits into the workplace as well. 

The Huffington Post suggests that more businesses need to consider mental health and the well-being of their workers. Not only does that focus help improve the health of employees who might suffer from depression or anxiety, but that health improvement can also improve a business' success. 

Compared to a physical illness such as cancer, for example, workers might be less likely to discuss their mental health conditions with an employer. Sadly, there is a stigma surrounding the matter of mental health. Workplaces could help to diminish that stigma by openly addressing the risks of depression and anxiety and encouraging workers to care for themselves from a mental health perspective. Businesses could even provide services such as access to counseling in order to foster a healthier workforce. 

What if it is work that has resulted in someone's diagnosed anxiety and/or depression? Can workers' compensation be of help to a worker struggling with the mental illness? The answer to that question depends on a specific state's workers' compensation laws.

According to the ABA, California does allow compensation for a worker's mental health condition. The worker must meet a specific burden of proof in order to be awarded such compensation. He or she must have been diagnosed by a physician as having a mental health disorder. Before receiving that award, it must be shown that other life factors outside of work wouldn't likely have contributed to the health issue. Basically, it should be evident that a work event or highly stressful work atmosphere ignited the mental health condition. 

Workers' compensation cases are complicated, but they are so important to a person's financial security and healing. A workers' compensation lawyer can clarify the complex aspects of work injury and workers' illness cases and help allow a struggling worker to move on in the way that best serves him or her. 

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