Many employers are now offering a mental health day off from work as a benefit to their employees. Different from a personal day, sick day, or vacation, a mental health day can be used by a worker to take off due to mental health which does not include being physically ill. Reasons for taking a mental health day can include depression, treatment for a mental disorder, stress unrelated to physical symptoms, and more.
The time that you can take off for a mental health day can vary by employer. Most opt to offer two to three mental health days per calendar year for each employee. These days are usually also paid.
There are many benefits to using a mental health day off from work, and more and more employers see the benefit to offering this. Employees who utilize a mental health day off tend to be more efficient and perform their job duties at an above average level,. They are also less stressed and are generally more positive in the workplace and in their personal lives, per a recent study.
With the buzz of mental health in the media and the news recently due to the death of Robin Williams, more and more people are discussing mental health issues openly, and it is becoming less of a stigma. Mental health days allow employees to be proactive rather than reactive to stress and other leading factors. Self care and management is most important to all of us, and as a valued employee, more and more employers find offering mental health days to their workers invaluable.
To use a mental health day, you may need documentation from a physician, although some companies do not require this for it to be excused as such, since HIPAA laws state that certain patient information cannot be shared with an outside party, including an employer.
If you are unsure if your workplace offers the use of a mental health day, you may want to check with your Human Resource department or your manager. Information about mental health days may also be included in your company handbook or policy manual.
If you feel the need to take a mental health day off, please take it. There is no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed. As a former HR manager, I can tell you that this is a benefit that I wished I saw more of my past employees use. It is offered for a reason.
For more information on mental health days off, read: How to take a mental health day off without feeling guilty.
Does your employer offer a mental health day off? Do you use this benefit?
Earlier this year I took advantage of my husband’s EAP program to talk to a family therapist and it really helped me through that time. I hope more employees use this mental health day off and take care of themselves instead of suffering in silence.