Mental Health Professionals, Psychiatric Injury Claims & Workers’ Compensation: What You Need To Know

In California Workers’ Compensation Law, Mental Health Claims are allowable.  Mental Health claims are commonly referred to as “stress claims.”    Injured Workers pursuing these psychiatric injury claims frequently seek medical attention.

This article will discuss the types of medical treatment available for those seeking mental health care.  There are a variety of mental health providers that Injured Workers can encounter as part of their workers’ compensation Psychiatric Injury Claim.  This article will also discuss the types of providers and treatment available for mental health treatment.

What Types of Mental Health Professionals Are Available?

There are a large number of Mental Health Treaters that an Injured Worker may encounter when seeking treatment. These Mental Health Treaters include:

  • Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselors
  • Certified Peer Specialists
  • Clinical Social Workers
  • Clinicians
  • Counselors
  • Family Nurse Practitioners
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Pastoral Counselors
  • Primary Care Physicians
  • Professional Counselors
  • Psychiatric Pharmacists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Therapists

Is There any Significance to What Type of Mental Health Professional I Have?

Yes. It is significant as to what type of Mental Health Treater you are seeing.  Certain Treaters have the capacity to perform various functions.   The most important difference is that Treaters who are medical doctors will be able to prescribe medications or prescribe other medical procedures.

At times, when an Injured Worker is seeing a non-physician. If medication is needed, the Injured Worker will be referred to a physician to obtain a prescription for psychiatric medicals.   These physicians can include Psychiatrists or Primary Care Physicians.

Who Are Some of These Providers And How Do They Help Out With Treatment?

This section will briefly describe some of the providers of import.

    • PSYCHIATRIST: A Psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in Psychiatry, the branch of medicine devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, study, and treatment of mental disorders. Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medications.
    • PSYCHOLOGIST: A Psychologist is trained in the studies of normal and abnormal mental states, perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and social processes. They can provide treatment in the form of psychotherapy.   They, cannot, however, prescribe medications.
    • MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS: Marriage and Family Therapists are mental health professionals who are trained in dealing with family systems. They can provide psychotherapy.
    • SOCIAL WORKERS: Social Workers are professionals that concern themselves with individuals, families, groups, and communities in an effort to enhance social functioning and overall well-being.
    • ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE COUNSELORS: Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors address issues of dependency with respect to drugs, alcohol and other destructive behaviors such as gambling. They work with families, work at both inpatient and outpatient facilities, halfway houses and hospitals.
    • PASTORAL COUNSELING: Pastoral Counseling involve psychologically trained clergy. This includes Ministers, Rabbis, Priests, Imams, and others. They can provide therapy services

How Does Workers’ Compensation Treatment Work?

Workers’ Compensation Treatment, under California Law, is subject to Utilization Review. This means that a medical provider is to submit a “Request for Authorization” to the Insurance Company. If the treatment recommendation meets the appropriate criteria within Utilization Review, the Claims Administrator will approve it.   If it is rejected, the Injured Worker has the opportunity to appeal the determination via Independent Medical Review.

What Types of  Treatment is Available for Mental Health Claims?

There are many forms of treatment that are available for individuals with psychological problems.  These modes of treatment include art therapy, complementary and alternative medicine, electroconvulsive therapy, hospitalization, medications, out-patient treatment, peer support, psychotherapy, religious counseling, self-help, and support groups.

What Is Art Therapy?

Art Therapy involves the use of creative techniques to help people express themselves. This allows the opportunity to examine the psychological and emotional undertones within their artwork.   This can lead to a better understanding of emotions and behavior.

What Is Case Management?

Case Management is coordinated services directed by an individual who assesses, plans, and implements strategies for recovery.

What Is Complementary & Alternative Medicine?

Complementary & Alternative Medicine refers to treatment and practices that are not typically associated with standard care.  This can include treatments such as acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga, biofeedback, nutritional therapies, and meditation.

What Is Electroconvulsive Therapy?

Electroconvulsive Therapy is a medical treatment most commonly used in patients with severe major depression or bipolar disorder that has not responded to other treatments. The treatment involves electrical stimulation of the brain.  This is performed by medical professionals.

What Is Hospitalization?

In serious cases, individuals suffering from mental illness are hospitalized. The purpose of hospitalization can include:

  1. Close monitoring of the individual
  2. Addressing a diagnosis
  3. Adjusting medications

For example, an individual who is suicidal may need a required hospitalization.

What Is Peer Support?

Peer Support involves treatment in which the individual interacts will fellow individuals who have suffered from similar circumstances, i.e. Alcoholics Anonymous

What Is Psychiatric Medication?

There are various medications that have been used to treat mental illness.   Sometimes, multiple medications are prescribed at the same time.  Medications are commonly paired with psychotherapy.

There are a variety of types of medications that are involved with psychiatric treatment.  They include anti-depressant medications, anti-anxiety medications, stimulants, anti-psychotics, and mood stabilizers. Further, beyond medications, there are various herbs and supplements (i.e. vitamins) that can used in treatment as well.

What Is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is therapeutic treatment provided by a mental health professional.   It is usually done in an office setting. It involves discussion and interaction between the therapist and the patient.   There are a variety of forms of psychotherapy. They include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Therapy and Dialectic Behavior Therapy.  Psychotherapy, as treatment, can be paired with medications.

What Is Self-Help Treatment?

Self-Help Treatment is a plan in which the individual, on their own, addresses their condition and implements strategies to treat their mental health.

What Is Support Group Treatment?

Support Group Treatment consists of group meetings in which members guide each other toward the shared goal of recovery. These groups can include non-professionals.

What If I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding your workers’ compensation claim, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, A Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for over 26 years. Contact us today for more information.

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