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Psychological or psychiatric injuries

Need urgent help?

If you need urgent support for a mental health or related issue, there are some services that might help you. Visit the links in the What support is available section at the bottom of this page or you can call WorkCover on 1300 362 128 for more information.

What is a psychological or psychiatric injury?

A work-related psychological or psychiatric injury is a disorder or illness that affects your mood, feelings, thoughts or behaviour that has resulted from your job. These types of conditions can include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and more, and can be caused by a single event or develop over time.

Examples of things that can contribute to these conditions may include:

  • a single event such as an armed robbery
  • workplace bullying and/or harassment
  • unreasonable action taken by management

Is my injury eligible for compensation?

For your injury to be eligible for compensation, your employment needs to be a ‘significant contributing factor’. This means that your injury must be causally connected to your employment. This is in line with the requirements of the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 and is one of the things considered when WorkCover decides your claim.

First responders and eligible employees diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

From 20 May 2021, first responders and eligible employees diagnosed with PTSD will no longer need to prove their PTSD was caused by work. Due to the nature of their work (being exposed to traumatic incidents) it will be presumed their PTSD is  work-related unless there is evidence to the contrary.

This presumption of injury provides an alternative claims pathway for first responders and eligible employees who are struggling to cope with PTSD. It aims to provide easier and faster access to necessary support and compensation by reversing the onus of proof and deeming their injury to be work-related unless there is evidence presented by the employer to the contrary.

Reasonable management action

Not all psychological or psychiatric injuries arising from your job are eligible for compensation.

Sometimes your employer might need to make decisions about your employment with them. If your condition has occurred as a result of ‘reasonable management action’ by your employer in relation to your job, you may not be eligible to be compensated.

Some actions that might be considered ‘reasonable management’ are:

Action taken to:

  • transfer a worker
  • demote a worker
  • discipline a worker
  • redeploy a worker
  • retrench or dismiss a worker.

A decision not to:

  • award or provide a promotion to a worker
  • transfer or reclassify a worker
  • grant leave of absence or other benefit.

For injuries that occurred on or after 30 October 2019, while your claim is being determined, we can assist with coordinating early psychological services like:

  • general practitioner appointments
  • counselling or psychology sessions
  • psychiatry appointments
  • psychotropic medication relating to your condition
  • mediation services
  • some hospital costs.

To be able to access these support services, you'll be required to make a valid application for compensation including a certificate from a doctor diagnosing you with a medically recognised psychiatric or psychological injury.

For injuries that occurred prior to 30 October 2019, the above support services will only be covered once your claim has been accepted.

In either case we’ll contact you after your claim has been lodged to discuss available options. If you have any questions you can contact us on 1300 362 128.

Mental health support

  • Workers’ Psychological Support Service is a free, confidential and independent support service where Queenslanders who are struggling mentally due to an injury at work can access support from a social worker and connect in with community services: 1800 370 732 (during business hours) or
  • 1300 MH CALL (1300 642 255) is a confidential mental health telephone service for Queenslanders that will link you to public mental health services
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • Beyondblue: 1300 224 636

Financial hardship

Victim of Crime

If you’re a victim of a violent crime, there are support services including possible financial support available. Information about available support can be found through Victim Assist Queensland.

MATES in Construction

MATES in Construction is an initiative of Building Employees Redundancy Trust (BERT) and other key parts of the Queensland construction industry. It’s based on best practice principles and expert advice relating to suicide prevention.

MATES in Construction was set up to identify workers who show early warning signs of a suicidal attempt, connect them with support and contribute to a more resilient and healthier industry.

Visit MATES in Construction for more information.

Related links