Addressing Mental and Social Health in Workers' Compensation
David Ring
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Abstract

Humans interpret and react to symptoms. We only seek care for a symptom when it becomes a concern.1 Variation in symptom intensity and magnitude of capability relates more to unhelpful thoughts, feelings of worry and despair regarding symptoms, and feelings of insecurity around role and livelihood (mental and social health opportunities) than pathophysiology.2 Work claims are meant to address pathology that results from injury. Injuries have predictable recovery trajectories. When the recovery trajectory seems off track, consider pre-existing non-trauma pathology and mental and social health opportunities. Appropriate management of new pathology under the work claim and pre-existing pathology and mental and social health opportunities outside the work claim, along with a supportive environment that anticipates these aspects of normal human illness behavior, can help people get and stay healthy in the context of workers' compensation.

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