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February 18, 2003

Debbie Neufert
Media Relations, LHSC
519-685-8500, ext. 74772

Perry Jensen
Sr. Officer, External Relations

416-344-4202 or 1-800-387-0750 ext. 4202


New clinic at LHSC to treat traumatic stress for injured workers

(LONDON, Ontario) - The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), in collaboration with London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), has opened a new specialty clinic for injured workers from across the province.

The WSIB Traumatic Stress Services Workplace Program will operate as a clinic at the South Street Site of LHSC. It is the second clinic in Ontario to treat post-traumatic stress disorder caused by a workplace accident. The other clinic is in Toronto.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, which is estimated to affect eight per cent of the general population, may occur after exposure to psychological trauma, including a workplace accident. Symptoms of PTSD include vivid memories about the accident, avoidance of situations that are reminders of the accident, as well as symptoms such as sleeplessness and irritability.

"Many people who suffer from PTSD do not realize it. However, once diagnosed, PTSD is a very treatable illness," says Dr. Ruth Lanius, director of the clinic. "We expect that the clinic will be able to help many injured workers with PTSD and related disorders return to work."

Dr. Ruth Lanius is a psychiatrist and director of the Traumatic Stress Service at LHSC, as well as an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Western Ontario.

The WSIB clinic, which opened February 18, provides a multi-disciplinary assessment and treatment program, including psychotherapy, medication treatment and work rehabilitation.

The WSIB now has 11 speciality clinics operating to serve the diverse needs of Ontario's injured workers.

Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board plays a key role in the province's occupational health and safety system. The WSIB administers no-fault workplace insurance for employers and their workers and is committed to the prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses. The WSIB provides disability benefits, monitors the quality of health care, and assists in early and safe return to work for workers who are injured on the job or contract an occupational disease.