As we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s time to break the stigma of mental illness. Employers can really take the lead in shifting preconceived notions attached to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
Mental Wellness is Important
This may come as a shock, but mental health days are just as important as sick days. In fact, did you know that 1 in every 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year? Think about how many people on your team that equates to! It’s just as important to permit your staff to take their allotted sick days to focus on their mental health as it is for them to focus on their physical health.
Let’s face it; a weekend sometimes is not enough. With the weekly Saturday trip to Lowe’s, the grocery store, household errands, mowing the lawn, paying bills… before you know it, it is Sunday night dinner, and you are dreading your Monday while watching 60 Minutes.
It can be too much. And you should not have to be sick to take time for yourself!
Each of Our Stories Help Chip Away at the Stigma that is Mental Illness
Last week, my head was in a tailspin. After two years of starting a new job, losing a parent and a beloved dog, the pandemic, and the weight of the world, I just had enough. I did not have a physical illness; I didn’t have the sniffles or a bellyache. I just needed a personal day. I needed to take a break.
So, I booked myself a spa day and decided to take a day for some self-care. Now I could have faked a cough or a stomach cramp like I used to do when I did not want to go to school, but this time I didn’t. I simply let my boss know that I needed a mental health day.
Guess what? There was NO pushback. NO questions asked. DONE. No…. Can you do this before you take time off? No…. When you are back, we will need to do XYZ.
What I got was, “Here is how you fill out your form so you get paid and enjoy your break – we can’t wait to hear all about it.”
I was in awe. I felt understood and valued.
Stories like these chip away at the stigma that is mental illness, one small step at a time. I am so happy I made the choice to become an employee at Goodwin Recruiting and appreciate the support of the team I have around me. Every company can learn that just allowing people to rest their minds, even for a single day off, can go such a long way in reducing stress levels, improving well-being, and making employees feel special.
As an Employer or Human Resources Professional, How Can You Make a Difference?
- Allow your team the opportunity to take personal days whenever they need them.
- Instead of sick days, let’s call them mental wellness days.
- Encourage your team to take their vacation days.
- Provide resources for your team to speak with mental health professionals.
- Offer mental health training to help managers identify and support your team’s mental health.
Offering employees mental health days improves overall health, prevents burnout, and increases productivity. An added benefit is that your employees know you have their back when they need it the most, which will increase your retention rates as well as improve your company culture and productivity.