The Prevalence of Mental Health Service Use in Australian Workers with Accepted Workers’ Compensation Claims for Low Back Pain: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Shannon E. Gray, M. Di Donato, L. R. Sheehan, R. Iles, A. Collie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Low back pain (LBP) is a leading cause of disability globally and interferes with work performance and quality of life. For work-related LBP, Australian workers can receive workers’ compensation and access funded healthcare to promote recovery, including mental health services, as there are strong links between chronic LBP and mental health. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of funded mental health services for workers with compensated LBP. Methods: Claims and services data from four Australian workers’ compensation jurisdictions were analysed. Prevalence of accessing at least one mental health service was reported as a percentage of all claims overall and by duration of time loss, age group, sex, financial year of claim lodgement, jurisdiction, socioeconomic status and remoteness. Odds of accessing at least one service was determined using logistic regression. Results: Almost 10% of LBP claims accessed at least one mental health service (9.7%) with prevalence increasing with time loss. Prevalence was highest in Victoria however a higher percentage of workers with LBP accessed mental health services earlier in Queensland. Odds of accessing services was highest with longest time loss duration, among females and in Queensland. Lower odds were observed in regional areas and among those aged over 56 years. Conclusion: Findings suggest opportunities for workers’ compensation regulators and insurers to provide greater access to appropriate mental health services alongside physical treatment as standard practice, such as those in more remote locations or earlier in a claim, to improve recovery outcomes for workers with LBP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)602-609
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Injury
  • Low back pain
  • Mental health
  • Workers’ compensation

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