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Psychological injury claims come to forefront in Workers’ Compensation Board annual report


Psychological health and safety is moving to the forefront, according to the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board.

The WCB accepted 238 psychological injury claims in 2021, which is up from 174 in 2017, according to the government.

“More people than ever started to realize mental health issues can happen to anybody and we all need to work together to support each other through those issues,” said Phillip Germain, CEO of Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB).

Carolyn Strom, a public health nurse, went on stress leave in January after submitting a psychological injury claim to the workers’ compensation board.

Strom has been working in the healthcare field since 2005.

She said the “unrelenting stress and expectations” from the pandemic led to her leave.

“Wave after wave, a person’s ability to respond and bounce back to do a person’s job well was greatly depleted,” Strom said.

“Since the fourth wave, I treaded water for a couple months where I was just so sad, and extremely anxious.”

Strom said she isn’t the only healthcare worker to take a leave during the pandemic, and she suspects many more psychological injury claims will be submitted in the months ahead.

“Our patients are struggling, but we’re struggling, too,” she said.

Strom was placed in a mental health program two months after submitting her claim. Her treatment consists of psychology sessions, exercise and exposure therapy, and physiotherapy.

The program is 12 to 16 weeks, and will eventually lead to a back-to-work strategy. Strom said she’s already starting to see small gains.

“I have more hope and a brighter outlook,” she said.

There are a number of steps being taken to address the increase in psychological injuries, according to the Saskatchewan government.

In 2019, the WCB established the psychological injuries unit to provide specialized support to workers.

The WCB expects psychological injury claims to continue to require specialized services in the future and will continue to make improvements to maintain service levels.

“These injuries are very unique each one, they are very challenging, and what works for one person may not work for another,” Germain said. Top Stories

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