Work-related mental injury resulting in psychological harm
Accounts for 11 per cent of workers’ compensation claims in Victoria.
The second most common cause of workers' compensation claims in Australia.
If your work is causing you a mental health issue, it's important to get treatment as soon as possible, regardless of whether you have an accepted workers' compensation claim.
Costs can later be covered by workers' compensation if your claim is accepted.
Meet with your General Practitioner (GP)
Book a long consultation with your GP so you have enough time to discuss your situation without feeling rushed.
Your GP may develop a Mental Health Treatment Plan with you so you can be referred to a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Your GP can use GP Mental Health Treatment items in the Medicare Benefits Schedule that are generally either low cost or free for patients. You can check whether there will be any cost when you make the appointment.
Explore treatment options and e-therapies
Psychology treatment through Medicare allows up to 10-12 individual consultations per year with a psychologist. Talk to your GP about whether a referral would be right for you.
Further information on Medicare mental health services is available on the Department of Health website.
Employee Assistance Program
Many employers have a counselling program which employees can access for free for a limited number of sessions.
Private health insurance
If you have private health insurance, you may be covered for private mental health treatment.
E-therapy for mental health
Research in Australia and internationally shows that online cognitive behavioural therapy (e-therapy) is a successful way to treat mental health issues, especially for anxiety and depression.
The Australian Government's Head to Health website provides up-to-date information and resources to assist with mental health and persistent pain treatment. You will find a list of online e-therapy services as well as other information about anxiety, stress and depression.
Find a psychologist
Your GP may recommend or refer you to a specific psychologist. You can also find a fully-qualified, independent psychologist through the Australian Psychological Society.
What to expect when you see a psychologist
Your psychologist will ask a lot of questions at your first appointment. This is to help them understand you and your situation so they can develop an action plan with you. Your action plan will include information about the type of treatment they recommend and how long treatment may take.
Your treatment should help you manage the different areas of your life better – such as sleep, home and work - and help you get back to your normal activities. It can also help you get back to things you may have stopped, such as social activities or parts of work.
If you feel like your treatment is not helping you, talk to your psychologist and GP about your concerns so they can work with you to change your action plan.
Questions to ask your doctor or psychologist
You will get more out of visits to your GP or psychologist if you ask questions about your condition, progress and what to expect. Writing your questions down may help you make the most of your appointment time.
Questions for your GP
- What does my diagnosis mean?
- What is the prescribed treatment? What are the risks and benefits?
- How will you and my psychologist communicate with each other about my progress?
- Does the psychologist you are referring me to have experience working with my condition?
Questions for your psychologist
- What should I expect from psychology treatment?
- How is this treatment going to help me?
- What goals will we be working on during my recovery?
- Will I have homework to do between sessions?
- How long should it take to feel better/get back to normal?
- What do I do if I don't think I am getting better after a few weeks?
- Can returning to some of my usual day-to-day activities be included as goals in my treatment plan?
- People are talking to me about return to work. What if I don't feel ready?
If you understand your mental health treatment and you are involved in making decisions about your treatment, you are more likely to feel better and have a better outcome.
Mental health services
The following mental health services are available for injured workers:
Telephone or online support for patients
Employee Assistance Programs
Confidential counselling services offered by some employers
Depression and anxiety support
Phone 1300 224 636
Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health
Phone 9035 5599