Does New York Workers’ Compensation Law Cover Mental Health Treatments?

Yes. If your workers’ compensation claim is successful in demonstrating that your mental conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are causally related to your accident.

While physical injuries such as neck or lower back injuries are more visible and easier to document, mental conditions are a little more challenging to document. However, having a good attorney can help facilitate your case faster and be able to receive the mental health treatment you need. You also need an experienced psychologist who can conduct a thorough evaluation and get you mental health treatment as early as possible.

Your Mental Health and Work-Related Injuries

A mental health condition such as Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD can develop as a result of injury, accident, being a victim of a traumatic event, or witnessing another exposed to a traumatic event.

  • a. A work-related injury. A work-related injury can cause the victim physical pain and mental pain, such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and sleep problems.
  • b. Witnessing Traumatic Event. Being exposed to a traumatic event or witnessing someone else exposed to a life-threatening event can lead to mental conditions similar to those described above.
  • c. Stressful or Difficult Working Conditions. Hostile or discriminatory work conditions can cause one mentally ill.
  • d. Work-related injury can cause physical and mental conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, panic attacks, and sleep difficulties. A person can develop mental problems because the worker is directly exposed to a traumatic event or is a witness to an industrial accident that can cause dismemberment, and cause the witnessing person PTSD.
10 Steps To Overcome Depression

Here are some steps you can try to take care of yourself and hopefully feel better:

  • 1. Exercise regularly and eat healthy foods.
  • 2. Get a reasonable amount of sleep.
  • 3. Be active.

    a. Make a list and participate in at least 2 enjoyable activities a day.

    b. Make a list and participate in at least 2 mastery activities a day (mastery activity can be any activity that gives you a sense of mastery/good feeling about yourself; cooking, bicycle riding, hiking, etc.)

  • 4. Connect with others. If you are feeling lonely, do something for others.
  • 5. Journal your positive and negative thoughts and feelings to clear your mind. Think of your thoughts as clouds that come and go, and letting go is important to make room for new thoughts and new feelings.
  • 6. You can also practice deep breathing to clear your mind.
  • 7. Practice mindfulness or being in the present without any judgments of oneself and others. Engage your 5 senses in the here and now.
  • 8. If you are stuck in your anger, write down the pros and cons of holding on to resentments and learning to let go and forgive.
  • 9. Learn to express your feelings and needs in assertive ways.
  • 10. Monitoring your thoughts and changing negative thoughts to positive thoughts.

If your depression persists, don’t hesitate to contact our office.

9 Tips to Cope with Anxiety
  • 1. Get regular exercise.
  • 2. Eat a balanced diet. Ultra-processed food and added sugars make stress and anxiety worse.
  • 3. Minimize phone and TV time. Research shows too much time spent in front of the screen is associated with increased levels of anxiety and stress.
  • 4. Socialize. Get out of the house and spend time with family and friends. Meet a friend for tea or an enjoyable activity such as going to the zoo or museum.
  • 5. Reduce your caffeine intake. Caffeine is the chemical in the coffee, chocolate, or energy drink that stimulates our brains. Consuming too much can make anxiety worse. Limit coffee to about 3-4 cups a day (under 400 mg).
  • 6. Learn to be assertive and say no. Overworking and not taking time to care for yourself could cause you too much anxiety and stress. Feeling scared and anxious about saying no to others, can also lead to added stress, frustration, and anxiety.
  • 7. Journal. Write your thoughts, feelings, and your fears without any judgment. And try to reflect if you learned something new about yourself.
  • 8. Religious prayer. Some people find prayer as a way to cope with anxiety.
  • 9. Practice deep breathing.
7 Tips to Cope with PTSD
  • 1. Practice deep breathing or meditation. There is extensive research showing the benefits of deep breathing and meditation.
  • 2. Practice mindfulness.
  • 3. Seek the help of a professional psychiatrist.

    a. Medication, such as antidepressants (SSRIs) and anti-anxiety medication, can help.

  • 4. Seek psychological therapy. Evidence-based therapy such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMD)
  • 5. Find a Support group that deals with PTSD.
  • 6. Journaling. Journaling can be a useful way to integrate and face dissociated feelings and thoughts.
  • 7. Avoiding drugs and alcohol. Often an individual struggling with PTSD may look to numb the unacceptable feelings and thoughts by escaping to alcohol and drugs, which can worsen the PTSD symptoms.
How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Helps Manage Chronic Physical Pain

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is defined as lasting six months or longer and can even continue after physical illness or injuries have healed. Pain experience and pain signals can remain active for several years and may even become stronger with time (Reichling & Levine, 2009). Chronic pain can also occur without illness or injury. Chronic pain can lead to decreased mobility, reduced quality of life, depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, sleep problems, and emotional/sexual intimacy issues.

Recommended Ways to Manage Chronic Pain

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists six effective non-opioid options for patients dealing with chronic pain (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020), with cognitive approaches that focus on our thoughts high on the list. These options include:

  • 1. Over-the-counter medications for pain. Medications used to treat chronic pain include over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen (TYLENOL®) and ibuprofen (ADVIL®, MOTRIN®)
  • 2. Cognitive behavioral therapy. A psychological, goal-directed approach in which patients learn how to modify physical, behavioral, and emotional triggers (or thoughts) of pain and stress.
  • 3. Exercise therapies. Physical therapy, exercise, and weight loss
  • 4. Medications for depression or seizures. Medications that act on the nervous system, like gabapentin, certain antidepressants, and topical medications
  • 5. Intervention therapies. Injections, surgery, etc
  • 6. Other therapies such as acupuncture or massage
Does CBT Work for Pain

Cognitive therapy is an evidence-based treatment that has proven to be effective in helping individuals achieve relief from their pain symptoms. CBT for chronic pain has many benefits, including improved daily functioning, and quality of life, and it works well for a variety of chronic pain conditions (Morley, Eccleston, & Williams, 1999).

What Is Cognitive Therapy and How Does it Help the Injured Worker?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is based on three principles, education, behavioral skills training, and cognitive restructuring training/restructuring. The therapist and patient work collaboratively to assist the patient reflect, understanding, and identify catastrophic cognitions (irrational thoughts/beliefs) and help replace them with more realistic and supportive thoughts. Once the patient learns to identify irrational and maladaptive cognitions in the sessions, then the patient can practice these skills independently as homework assignments.


The cognitive restructuring allows the patient to replace rigid and unrealistic thoughts with more flexible and realistic thinking, causing the patient to gain better emotion regulation and less extreme emotional reactions and behaviors.

CBT is an evidence-based, effective treatment to reduce pain symptoms and improve quality of life. CBT is a safer alternative to opioids and can be a cost-effective way to reduce pain.

Cognitive Behavioral Resources**
Other Cognitive Resources (Mindfulness and Relaxation)**