Can I File a Claim for Anxiety/Depression/PTSD Due to COVID-19?
In prior posts, we’ve discussed why physicians and dentists can be uniquely susceptible to burnout and mental health conditions such as anxiety, panic disorder, depression, and PTSD. Now, in light of the COVID-19 epidemic, health experts are particularly concerned about physicians working in the intensive care unit, emergency room personnel, paramedics, and other frontline responders.
According to an article in Scientific American, experts believe that health care workers are presently at risk for developing high rates of anxiety, depression, substance use issues, acute stress and, eventually PTSD as a result of working on the front lines during the pandemic.
For example, one study of physicians and nurses in China at the height of the pandemic found that 50% of respondents reported symptoms of depression, 44% reported anxiety, and 34% reported insomnia. Another study of data from the United Kingdom and U.S. showed that frontline health care workers had a nearly 12 times higher risk of testing positive for COVID-19 compared with those in the general community. This rate was even higher for workers that didn’t have adequate access to PPE.
Stress and emotional turmoil can also be related to caring for those most gravely ill with the disease, especially in light of the fact that many of these patients are dying without access to friends or family members. In situations where physicians normally would have turned to their families and friends for support, they are now fearful of passing the virus along to their loved ones, and many physicians are choosing to even live apart from their families and/or distance themselves from friends and colleagues outside of the hospital setting.
While the coronavirus and hospitalizations are abating in some parts of the country, frontline workers are also now facing new challenges. In a New York Times article, Dr. Mark Rosenberg, the chairman of the emergency department at St. Joseph’s Health in Paterson, New Jersey, was quoted as saying “[a]s the pandemic intensity seems to fade, so does the adrenaline. What’s left are the emotions of dealing with the trauma and stress of the many patients we cared for.”
For some, mental health conditions stemming from or exacerbated by COVID-19 can become persistent and long-lasting conditions. If you have reached this point, you may be wondering if filing a disability insurance claim is an option for you. If you have questions about whether you can file a claim under your disability policy, please feel free to contact one of our attorneys directly.
 Jillian Mock, Psychological Trauma Is the Next Crisis for Coronavirus Health Workers, Scientific American, June 1, 2020, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/psychological-trauma-is-the-next-crisis-for-coronavirus-health-workers1/
 Katie Marquedant, Study Reveals the Risk of COVID-19 Infection Among Health Care Workers, Massachusetts General Hospital Press Release, May 5, 2020, https://www.massgeneral.org/news/coronavirus/study-reveals-risk-of-covid-19-infection-among-health-care-workers
 Jan Hoffman, ‘I can’t Turn My Brain Off’: PTSD and Burnout Threaten Medical Workers, The New York Times, May 16, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/16/health/coronavirus-ptsd-medical-workers.html