Keeping our most vulnerable injured workers supported

Each year icare manages around 85,000 workers compensation claims for NSW businesses and government agencies. Among the most complex is a small but growing number of mental health claims.

Members of a support group share a laugh

Psychological claims currently account for around six per cent of all workers compensation claims, however this relatively small proportion of claims has some of the most complex customer behaviours. For example, we know that injured workers with a mental health claim are almost 10 times more likely to attempt to hurt themselves or others in contrast to workers with physical injuries.

In acknowledging this customer need, individuals with mental health claims are allocated to Specialised Case Managers with allied and mental health experience to support them throughout the life of the claim.

icare has vigorous strategies in place to proactively and carefully manage complex and high-risk claims.

icare's Mental Health Claims Leader, Jade Alexander, says robust internal procedures are critical to keeping these vulnerable customers safe.

"To carefully manage high-risk situations, icare has strict processes in place to ensure the safety of our customers when we believe they are at risk."

"Our high-risk notification process with our claims service providers ensures thorough safety assessment practices, safety planning, engagement with treating specialists and when required, that duty of care has been met through notifying emergency services," Jade says.

icare has processes in place to proactively identify and support those customers who demonstrate early indicators and/or circumstances which are often precursors for harm to self or others. This includes complex case discussions and collaborative reviews on claims covering safety assessments and planning, medical management and claims management strategy support.

icare's Mental Health Team also uses standard psychological high-risk notifications data – which includes self-harm, suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, intent to harm others, psychosis and non-fatal critical incidents – to review trends and constantly examine any possible changes to processes and further interventions to support our customers.

Like other similar organisations across the country, icare provides support including to the most vulnerable people in society, and that unfortunately means that these high-risk notifications will happen on occasion. icare takes these instances very seriously.

High-risk notifications experienced by icare reflect the same trends seen within the wider community, namely that men are over-represented in self-harm and many of the risk factors are identical whether they are an injured worker or not.

"icare's Mental Health Team includes trauma, mental health and technical specialists who provide ongoing customer support, in addition to training and resources for case managers across the scheme, with a particular focus on those managing these sensitive claims."

"These resources have been independently reviewed and assessed as best practice by Griffith University," Jade says.

Between January 2018 and May 2020, there were 2,100 high-risk notifications. As a result of comprehensive and proactive support services by icare, around one tenth of one per cent of all claims resulted in harm. Whilst unfortunate, this is in line with trends across the wider community.

icare continues to take all steps possible to provide care and support for any individual who is feeling mental distress. If you are feeling vulnerable, please contact Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or speak with your case manager.