Managing mental health disability leave is a growing and challenging part of any medical practice. Timely completion of forms and active management of patients who are off work are the most important tasks for primary care providers. Taking these steps, along with knowing the workplace and identifying potential barriers, can help to prevent prolonged disability.
Mental health claims are now the largest category of short- and long-term disability cases, and have become a routine part of any clinical practice. Mental disorders are frequently cited as the most disabling illness affecting working people aged 18 to 44, with depression being the leading cause of disability worldwide (Whiteford et at., 2010; World Health Organization [WHO], 2018). Disability-related issues can be one of the most challenging and time-consuming components of primary care practice, but addressing them is critical to patients, given the many possible negative repercussions of disability, including:
- financial loss
- loss of occupational identity
- stigma and social isolation
- diminished future occupational and economic attainment
- higher rates of medical and mental disorders
- dependence on what can be an adversarial insurance or public social support system.
This section describes guidelines for addressing mental health disability in primary care practice with the goal of promoting patients’ recovery and return to work.
- Key Definitions
- Documentation and claims
- Documenting a Diagnosis
- Facilitating the patient's return to work
- Resources and References