Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common mental health condition that can develop after exposure to a traumatic event.
For many men, the workplace can be a trigger for PTSD symptoms, making it difficult to perform their job duties effectively.
In this blog, we’ll explore the signs of PTSD in men and how it can impact their ability to return to work after an injury.
Signs to look out for
For men who have experienced a traumatic event, such as a car accident, military combat, or a natural disaster, returning to work can be a challenging experience.
If you or a colleague have experienced trauma, some of the common signs of PTSD you should be aware of at work include:
- Intrusive thoughts or flashbacks of the traumatic event
- Avoidance behaviour, such as avoiding certain places or activities that may trigger memories
- A sense of heightened anxiety or irritability
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or nightmares
- Difficulty concentrating or staying focused
- If you, or a someone you know experiences these symptoms, it is important to speak with a doctor or a mental health professional
The impact of PTSD on our lives
Emily Gardner, Lead Consultant at Acumen Health, said the emotional impacts of PTSD can be significant and spread to other areas of our life.
“People living with PTSD can experience an ongoing negative emotional state in their daily lives such as shame, anger, fear, or depression.”
Some of the effects can include:
- Difficulty concentrating and sustaining focus
- Heightened reactivity and irritability
- Impulsive, self-destructive, guarded, or aggressive behaviour
- Lack of sleep and problems sleeping
- Inability to remember an important aspect of the event
- Persistent and elevated negative evaluations about oneself, others, or the world
- Elevated self-blame or blame of others about the cause or consequence of the event
- Loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed
- Feeling detached from themselves and others
- Inability to experience positive emotions such as happiness, love, joy
- Changes in libido and feelings of connection
Returning to work
For men who have suffered an injury and are trying to return to work, the process can be especially difficult if they are also struggling with PTSD.
The symptoms of PTSD can make it difficult to focus, stay motivated, and work effectively.
Additionally, men who have suffered an injury may also experience physical pain, which can exacerbate their PTSD symptoms.
“People living with PTSD can make a successful return to work and life,” Emily said.
“The symptoms of the condition can vary for each person, likewise they may have different requirements when returning to the workplace.”
“Someone’s needs can be higher, especially if they experienced a traumatic event at work.”
Supporting team members
“Employers can seek additional support to assist with return to work (RTW) planning for their employees,” Emily adds.
“Creating and implementing strategies and early interventions for improved psychological wellbeing are essential for a successful RTW plan.”
“These are beneficial for employees living with PTSD and a range of other mental health conditions.”
“Having these in place will make it easier to protect the psychological safety of your employees across the board, and more easily identify risks.”
Create a safe and supportive work environment. Encourage open communication and make it clear that your employees can talk to you or a designated mental health professional if they are struggling with PTSD or any other mental health condition.
Provide access to resources and support. Offer your employees access to counselling services, employee assistance programs, or support groups that can help them manage their PTSD symptoms.
Accommodate their needs. If your employee is struggling with PTSD, consider flexible work arrangements, such as allowing them to work from home or adjusting their work hours.
Promote education and awareness. Make sure that your employees are aware of the signs and symptoms of PTSD and that they understand the importance of seeking help when needed.
Lead by example. As an employer, your actions and attitudes can set the tone for the workplace. Be a positive role model by promoting mental health and wellness and by encouraging your employees to take care of their mental health.
If you, or a team member, are struggling to return to work after an injury, it is important to reach out for support.
This can include talking to your doctor, a mental health professional, or a support group specifically for men with PTSD.
If you would like to know more about how Acumen Health can support you and your workplace, get in touch with our team today.
The following resource has been provided for informational purposes only. As it does not consider your personal circumstances and needs, we recommend you obtain your own professional health advice to determine how this resource may apply to you.