Mental illness is a general term that includes psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress to name only a few. Mental illness is prevalent and indirectly affects everyone at some time in their life either through a family member, friend or colleague. Psychiatric disorders exist in all cultures and across people of all ages, educational and income levels.
Has your insurance company put your life on hold?
Insurance companies will often deny mental illness claims by requiring “additional medical information” or suggesting there are no “objective findings” to support an absence from work. Such denials are a source of frustration for claimants and their treating doctors. The reality is that mental illnesses, by their very nature, are based on the subjective complaints of the claimant and subjective observations of the treating clinician.
There are things you can do to increase the likelihood of your claim being accepted, include:
- Following your doctors’ advice including following a recommended medicinal regime
- Being treated by an appropriate care giver such as a psychiatrist or psychologist or support group
- Keeping notes of any physical and cognitive limitations and restrictions
- Getting legal advice when your claim is denied
Depression is often much more than feeling sad or despondent. Symptoms often include loss of self-esteem, feelings of uselessness, hopelessness, excessive guilt, slowed thinking, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, difficulty making decisions, loss of interest in work, fatigue, mood swings, oversleeping or insomnia, thoughts of death, dying or suicide. Anxiety is much more than nervousness. It can include debilitating fear, apprehension, and worrying. Mental illnesses affect how we feel and behave, and they can manifest real physical symptoms.
Mental illnesses are more likely to come up during times of stress, including workplace By the same token, stress outside of work (family or social life) can also affect mental health, which may then affect a person at work.
Mental illness can manifest itself at work in the form of doubting abilities or behaving less confident. Concentrating, learning, and decision-making can be greatly affected. These symptoms can lead to impaired work performance or inability to do certain job duties.
Depending on the severity, a mental illness can cause functional limitations that prevent people from working in any capacity.
Statistics published by the Canadian Mental Health Association indicates 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime. That is 1 in 5 people. Nearly 50% of those who believe they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never sought medical treatment or consultation. The reason for this absence of treatment, in part, is due to the stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses. Regrettably, without treatment, the illness may not abate and become worse.
Statistics published by the Mental health commission of Canada include the following:
In any given year, a mental health problem or illness costs the economy well in excess of $50 billion (link).
Mental health problems and illnesses typically account for approximately 30 per cent of short- and long-term disability claims (link).
Mental health problems and illnesses are rated one of the top three drivers of both short- and long-term disability claims by more than 80 per cent of Canadian employers (link).
Mental health problems and illnesses also account for more than $6 billion in lost productivity costs due to absenteeism and preseenteeism (link).
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