For many, the rewards of work are not just financial, but also social, and related to a desire for meaningful occupation. Each of these contribute to a general sense of well-being, which can help explain why unemployment is associated with poor mental health. As a comment piece in a Hong Kong newspaper recently discussed, there is a need to recognise the broader implications of work injury.
Work-related injury can be a major cause of short-term and long-term unemployment, and a key question for Hong Kong is how to help injured workers to overcome the ill effects of being out of work that go beyond merely the financial. One of the ways of doing this is through the provision of social support. The Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention has also been looking at how to improve return-to-work efforts.
At the same time, efforts must be continuously made to maximise injury prevention efforts in the first place, in recognition of the direct and indirect economic, social and personal consequences of work injuries.