Suffering an accident can have longer-term physical consequences. But your mental health can also be affected. According to a survey from the National Accident Helpline, 72% of 1,021 accident victims claimed to have suffered from a mental health problem in the wake of their experience. Moreover, the authors have claimed that while the resources are available to support physical recovery, there is “a severe lack of support” in place to support recovery from mental trauma.
Post-accident mental-health issues take many forms, and come with many causes. The victim might have to re-live their trauma as they encounter sights and sounds associated with it. For example, returning to the scene of a workplace accident might trigger an emotional reaction. Many victims, moreover, are reluctant to discuss their feelings (as doing so may worsen those feelings in the short term), and thus they’re unable to seek help in the same way that they would for a physical injury.
Of the types of mental health problem complained about, stress and anxiety were the two most often-cited, at 35% and 34% of respondents respectively. The practical consequences of an accident can also lead to tremendous stress. If the accident hampers the victim’s ability to work, then financial hardship may result. Personal relationships may be affected. Often, a symptom of a physical injury can be difficulty sleeping, and, sure enough, sleep deprivation was the third most complained-about problem, with 21%.
An accident can impact everyday life for those involved. As 63% stated they were worried about getting back on a vehicle or bike after there accident, while 55% said one of the consequences from being injured was a loss of income. The severity of the consequences is underestimated and more help is needed to ensure there is enough help for those that suffer.
The NAHL will attempt to raise awareness of this problem, in part by tackling the stigmas surrounding mental health and seeking help when it’s needed. They will do this via a campaign called ‘Make It Right’. One of the more famous faces to speak on behalf of the campaign is TV GP Dr. Hillary Jones, who commented: “An unexpected accident can be distressing. As well as the physical impact it may have on the body, the incident itself and dealing with the aftermath can also have devastating consequences on the mind, with feelings of fear, confusion and even isolation that can continue for years in some cases.
“This survey shows that there isn’t enough support available to help people who are struggling as a result of an accident and this simply isn’t good enough. Mental health is just as important as physical health and we need to be doing more to ensure people can access the support they need, as quickly as possible after the event, to minimise the impact on people’s work, relationships and general day-to-day life.”