As of 2014, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 1 in 5 adults (43.6 million or 18.1%) suffer from a mental illness in the United States. Of those individuals, approximately 9.8 million (or 4.2%) suffer from a serious mental illness which results in serious functional impairment. The number of individuals with a diagnosable mental illness, as well as individuals under psychological stress that can interfere with functioning, is staggering. Psychiatric issues (whether in the form of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, maladaptive personality traits, Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder, family or relationship stressors, etc.) can have a profound impact in the academic and occupational settings. These issues can impact functioning, productivity, and in some cases, safety in the workplace.
Once an employee's problematic behavior is identified, the issue often lands on the desk of the school administrator, HR department or employer. This can be a real challenge in order to evaluate one's own employee in regard to their problematic behavior. A number of issues arise including: Will the employee be honest with the HR department or employer? Is it fair to ask the employee personal questions to assess the behavior? Can the employer or HR department be truly objective when evaluating their own employees?
A psychiatric FFDE serves multiple purposes:
- Resource for the employer: The HR department, academic administrator or employer can request an objective evaluation from a professional with the appropriate level of experience and expertise.
- Resource for the employee: An independent professional trained in mental health issues can meet with the employee and discuss the problematic behaviors. If it is determined that the employee is fit to return to work now or in the future, the discomfort of sharing personal information is minimized since it was provided to a professional outside of the work place.
- Increased productivity: Problematic behavior exhibited by an employee doesn't only impact that employee's productivity. Often the behavior leads to conflict with other employees, including supervisors and coworkers. The ripple effect of conflict or problems in the workplace can lead to an overall disruption in productivity. Sometimes the employee needs to be temporarily removed from their job. This gives the employee time to focus on addressing the problematic behavior. At times, the employee may benefit from mental health treatment and/or work accommodations in order to provide them with the best opportunity to work in a safe and productive manner going forward.
- Safety: Sometimes problematic behavior can escalate to violence. One of the main purposes of the FFDE is to help assess the risk of violence and help protect the employee, co-workers, employers and public. It can also help protect the employer from potential allegations of negligence involved in hiring or keeping an employee.
Dr. Lipsig's qualifications for FFDE
Since starting his practice in 2002, Dr. Lipsig has treated a number of patients who have safety-sensitive occupations, such as pilots, physicians in a variety of specialties, nurses, etc. During the course of treatment, Dr. Lipsig continually assesses the patient's capacity to perform his or her work duties safely.
In the forensic arena, Dr. Lipsig has over 14 years of experience in conducting many different types of forensic psychiatric evaluations, including fitness for duty, competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, mitigation, disability, and worker's compensation. Dr. Lipsig has conducted fitness for duty evaluations for county, state and federal levels of government. In addition, Dr. Lipsig has conducted fitness for duty evaluations for various professional boards, including the medical and legal fields.
Dr. Lipsig's vast experience in treating patients and conducting forensic evaluations makes him uniquely qualified to conduct Fitness-For-Duty Evaluations involving a wide variety of academic and occupational settings.
Setting up the Evaluation
Please contact us in order to set up an evaluation.