Psychiatrists, counselors and other mental health professionals dedicate themselves tirelessly to look after their patients’ well-being and steering them toward recovery. However, the unpredictable or violent nature of some patients can make their work dangerous. At the same time, guiding patients to manage their pain and emotional distress can also take a mental toll on these devoted professionals.
Risks of working in psychiatry
Professionals working in the field of psychiatry have to be ready for anything. Bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder and schizophrenia are just some mental illnesses associated with violent behavior. Unfortunately, this aggression is often directed at the staff members.
In psychiatric environments, about 5 to 15% of psychiatric patients commit physical assaults against others. Besides potentially suffering physical injuries, continuous exposure to assaults and threats can cause high levels of stress, anxiety or PTSD among staff.
Psychiatrists also have the difficult task of helping individuals cope with their mental illnesses. The stress of caring for patients and wanting to see them improve can overwhelm psychiatrists, resulting in fatigue, depression, grief or fear.
Though many occupational hazards in psychiatry are unavoidable, there may still be ways to improve the safety and well-being of employees. Exploring additional training, hiring more staff or employing improved security measures could be a start.
How workers’ compensation may help
To provide effective patient care, psychiatrists and other staff members should also prioritize their health and well-being. Serious injuries resulting from patient attacks, illnesses or excessive stress could hinder their ability to do their jobs.
Psychiatry professionals may perform better if they receive sufficient treatment or have enough time to recuperate from their occupational injuries. In New Jersey, employees can claim workers’ compensation benefits not just for severe physical injuries but also for mental disorders that result from work-related injuries, stress or anxiety.
Workers’ comp benefits may help offset the cost of medical care, lost wages and other related expenses. Psychiatrists devote much of their lives to their patients. It is only fair that they receive help themselves when they’re struggling. However, seeking legal counsel may be necessary if difficulties arise while filing for workers’ compensation.