Employees with mental disorders seeking support from the workers compensation system: experiences from Denmark

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In Europe it is commonly accepted that psychosocial hazards may influence the mental health of employees. However, mental disorders such as depression are generally not acknowledged as an occupational disease covered by the workers compensation system. Studies indicate that workers compensation claim processes may affect employee's health negatively due to a demanding case process. If filing a workers' compensation claim can harm the employees' health, it is highly relevant to pay attention to employees with mental health claims, as they are most likely vulnerable and face a very low chance of compensation. OBJECTIVE: This study investigates how employees with work-related mental disorders experience the process of seeking workers compensation from the Danish Workers' Compensation System. METHOD: Interview (N = 13) and questionnaire (N = 436) data from claimants were analysed. RESULTS: Analysis showed that even though many employees wished for the claim to influence the conditions at the workplace, there seemed to be a lack of preventive health and safety initiatives in the workplaces. Central stakeholders such as health and safety representatives were often not involved. Management involvement was often experienced negatively, and the Danish Working Environment Authority rarely conducted workplace inspections. Employees experienced inadequate information about the workers' compensation process and experienced a lack of coordination between stakeholders. CONCLUSION: A more supportive and coordinated approach in the Workers' Compensation System is recommendable. The processes in the system could be evaluated using the Social Insurance Literacy concept, to ensure sufficient support of the claimants and reduce potential harmful aspects of the process.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1361-1377
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was conducted with competent support from Cand. psych. Mette Sofie Stig Knudsen and Dr. Med. Nanna Hurwitz Eller is from the Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark. The study was funded by The Danish Working Environment Research Fund grant (40-2013-03).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 - IOS Press. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • inspections insurance, Mental health claims, prevention, psychosocial work environment

ID: 366810549