The Need for Mental Health Leave. Saturday May 26, 2018
One fine morning, Madalyn Parker, a web designer emailed her colleagues, stating that she needed a break from work to focus on her mental health. Her supervisor responded positively, she was thanked for breaking down the stigma which is associated with mental illness. Since then, the topic of mental illness has become a widely discussed issue.
Mental health issues can arise in anyone, anytime and anywhere.
World Mental Health Day is celebrated on 10th October and the aim is to raise awareness of mental health issues. The theme of last year was workplace well-being.
A positive working environment does not only improve productivity but also maintains a good overall mental balance. On the other hand, a negative working environment leads to both physical and mental problems, like substance abuse, absenteeism and low productivity.
Some of the signs which suggest one should take a break from work are - lack of concentration, tiredness, irritation with colleagues and managers; basically experiencing symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
Three basic questions that one should ask yourself are:
• If I go to work, will it make me feel good or worse?
• Will I be able to perform well?
• Do I really need to be present in work today?
In many workplaces throughout the world, like United States and New Zealand, a mental-health day is given, which means, a person can skip work for reasons apart from physical illness. But, such leave days have not been implemented throughout the world.
Raising mental health awareness through events in the workplace is important; implementing policies and procedures like Employee Assistance Programs can prove to be helpful. Most importantly, keeping the lines of communication open and frank is needed. The workers must feel comfortable discussing the issues disturbing their mental and physical health.
Nothing comes before your mental health. Work, studies, people, in short obligations. If you are not well yourself, how can you take care of others? If we can get a leave for physical illness, then why not mental distress? How will you gain optimal productivity if the person is dejected?
Mental health is a part of overall health. So, let's bring focus to mental illness and its effects on people's quality of life and make an effort to reduce stigma.
A mental health day can provide you with the much-required rest you have been needing.
Important note: it is important not to utilize mental health days for avoiding issues that we would be facing eventually.
A Moodscope member.
Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.