Image of dandelion, meant to symbolize healing and hope.

How to Heal Mentally and Physically From a Work Injury

Healing mentally and physically from a work injury is challenging, but very possible, if you are aware of the resources that are available to help you do so.

Depression, anxiety, and trauma are common after a work injury. Many injured workers feel that their lives have been turned upside down and are scared about no longer being able to provide for themselves or their families.

There are many emotions that come up after a work injury. It is important to express those emotions to someone, whether it’s a therapist, spouse. or close friend. Confiding in others will help you feel supported and make others aware of your needs. Please don’t let the price of therapy keep you from seeking help, as there are many therapists who work on a sliding scale depending on income, support groups which you can join for free, and warmlines, where you can talk to someone for free via text or phone. There are also resources and support groups explicitly for injured workers, which are helpful for people who want to talk to someone who knows what it’s like to be in their situation.

It will take time to heal, both physically and mentally. Please speak with your doctor about your progress and ability to return to work. If you return to work too early or without consulting with your doctor, you may worsen your condition or injure yourself again.   

While you are recovering from your work injury, you can and should explore modified work (same job you did before, but not all the same duties) or alternative work (a different job but one you are qualified to perform) with your employer. A work injury does not prevent you from working. If your employer is unable to provide modified or alternative work, you are allowed to work for a different employer and still receive your worker’s compensation benefits. Even so, please make sure you speak with your doctor and obtain clearance to perform the work you want to perform. When able to do so, working is a great way to help yourself get better. 

Many injured workers also feel stressed financially after a work injury, which is understandable. However, there are many resources that can help while you’re waiting for your workers’ compensation case to settle and/or to return to work.

If the worker’s compensation carrier is not providing you with replacement income, you can apply to the EDD to obtain State Disability Insurance while you’re out of work due to your work injury. There are also various governmental programs, such as Medi-Cal, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance (SNAP), or nonprofit programs. If you’ve purchased a long term or short term disability plan or your employer or union has, that can also be a source of funds while you recover from your work injury.

The law firm of Ghitterman, Ghitterman and Feld helps employees in the areas of workers’ compensation, social security disability, disability retirement, personal injury, labor and employment issues. Founded in 1956, the firm now has offices in Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, Kern County, Tulare County, and Fresno County. The firm is proud to continue this tradition of securing all available rights for the injured and disabled in our community. For more information about what we do, how we might be about to help, or resources, see our website at www.ghitterman.com.