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The power of a phone call

Phone call

In 2012, a soil technician was involved in a work-related motor vehicle accident, which left him with significant back and neck pain, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

While the worker recovered well from his physical injuries, he continued to experience traumatic flashbacks of his accident, leading to vehicle related and generalised anxiety affecting his ability to return to work. The worker’s PTSD was so debilitating that he regularly broke out in cold sweats and required anti-depressants and twice weekly visits to his psychologist, both of which provided minimal relief.

A large problem for the worker was that part of his anxiety was related to the stigma of not being able to go to work, and thus he was stuck in a vicious cycle. The worker’s mindset began to worsen to the extent that he believed he could not return to work at his job and that if he ever did return to work, it would have to be with another employer.

The worker was fortunate though that his employer was extremely supportive and accepting of his condition, and understood the restrictions his PTSD placed on a successful return to work.

In June 2013, the worker submitted a new medical certificate for further month off work, fully expecting to be dismissed from his employment for asking for so much time off to recover. But something happened this time that shook the worker from his depression and gave him a spark of motivation to commit to his recovery and get back to work.

His employer called him.

Within one hour of submitting his medical certificate, the worker’s Technical Manager called him. His manager told him they were fully supportive of his recovery and were prepared to provide whatever assistance necessary to help him return to work. He was told that he was a valued and well liked employee and that the organisation couldn’t do without him.

That one phone call from his employer has changed his perspective completely. Since his Manager took the time to call him, the worker has felt so much lighter and more positive about the direction his recovery is going in. Before the call, he really didn’t realise how much he was worrying about going back to work, but now, he is actually looking forward to it.

The worker still has quite a journey before he is fully recovered, however he is now moving in the right direction, instead of dragging himself down. In one simple, supportive phone call from his employer, his journey has changed to a more positive direction. Before he was so caught up in his problems, there was no room to even think about what happened next. Now, just knowing he can go back to work when he is ready has made him believe he can recover.

This worker’s situation is proof that sometimes one phone call can be all it takes to make or break a person’s day or even recovery. In the words of this worker, “if sharing my story helps even one employer to understand how much influence they have over their worker’s recovery, then I am happy”.

 For more information, please view the Employer guide for communicating with injured workers or call us on 1300 362 128.

Last updated
04 April 2017

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