People who are injured in the workplace often face long-term physical and mental challenges. However, newly released research suggests those effects may be more disturbing than first suspected.

The study, co-authored by Boston University School of Public Health, says women who are forced to stay home due to a work injury for at least one week are three times more likely to die from suicide or drug overdoses, while men are 50% more likely.

Research draws startling conclusions

Researchers analyzed information from more than 100,000 New Mexico workers from 1994 to 2000 with lost-time injuries – those who missed at least seven days of work. They compared that data with injured workers who missed less than a week. Their key findings include:

  • 92% of women with lost-time injuries were more at risk to die from suicide
  • 193% of women were more at risk to die from drug overdoses
  • 72% of men were more at risk to die from suicide
  • 29% of men were more at risk to die from drug overdoses

Why are women more susceptible?

Researchers were unable to explain why women are more likely to be at risk for lost-time injuries. Overall, national statistics show more American men die from opioid overdoses than women. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says while more U.S. women attempt suicide, men are more likely to die, although the group says the gap is decreasing.

Improved treatment and safer workplaces are needed

The study’s authors say improved treatment for pain and substance abuse disorders are necessary, and better mental health care for depression could improve the quality of life for injured workers and reduce deaths resulting from workplace injuries. Employers must also be responsible for providing safe work environments and provide proper training for employees. If you are injured, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney here in Pennsylvania can help you receive the medical care and benefits you deserve.