They just think I’m crazy

Brain injury sufferers’ share heart breaking experiences in the workplace
Brain injury sufferers from around the UK have shared some of their turbulent experiences in the workplace as part of a new campaign by Hudgell Solictors.

The campaign, which aims to push for better provisions by employers in supporting victims, revealed some heart-breaking answers when respondents were asked about their experiences with employers. One of the respondents even told how they’d been asked to take 6 months of unpaid leave from work to improve the company’s sickness statistics. Many of the responses can be viewed in the images below.

According to statistics from Headway, there were 162,544 hospital admissions for head injuries between 2013 and 2014. This means thousands of people could be struggling to adapt to work life after what can be a life changing injury. A brain injury can affect anything from your ability to walk, to solve problems and can even cause emotional issues. Some sufferers may have a sudden personality shift that friends, family and colleagues cannot handle.

Brain injury, unlike many other injuries is not immediately visible and each trauma can have profoundly different effects upon a person. This makes it very hard for employers to make provisions for employees before they return to work.

Senior Solicitor, Kent Pattinson from Hudgell Solicitors explains what needs to be done: “There are strategies which employers ought to put in place to assist employees on their return to work following a brain injury. However, it is rare for employers to conduct occupational health and vocational assessments when clients return to work.”

Many employers use tactics that phase an employee back in to work after a serious injury but this isn’t always the best answer as Kent expands, “Often the only adjustment is in reduced working hours for an initial period, which means that no account is taken of the difficulties brain injured clients often face with deficits of concentration, attention, organisation and planning.”

As well as issues that arise from a lack of preparation from employers though, is a serious lack of understanding from everyone else. From HR to their own colleagues, many of the comments made by the survey’s respondents showed a worrying lack of compassion and understanding from

When we spoke with Labour MP for Hull, Karl Turner, about how employers could help minimise the issue, he suggested tackling it at the root, “Employers should conduct workshops with all staff members to discuss mental and physical health issues to foster a better understanding of the practicalities that arise when returning to work.”

A brain injury can have an extreme effect upon not only the victim, but everyone around them. It is only through frank discussion, on the issues around the effects of an injury of this magnitude, that solutions can be found. The first step for employers, employees and the general public is to acknowledge the problem and offer greater understanding to anyone going through this tough time.