Besides sleep, adults spend more time at work than doing any other activity. The pressure to stay busy, productive, and active is higher than ever. About one in five adults report struggling with a mental disorder each year. And workers with depression miss 6 to 25 more days of work per year. So, should companies start providing mental health days?
Despite efforts to have a more open conversation around mental health in the workplace, the subject remains taboo. Some companies are trying to break through the stigma of mental illness by offering “paid time off.” Under this style of time off, employees can request days off – no questions asked – to be used in however they chose.
On the other hand, you’ll still find companies that request a note from a doctor to request time off. Under this approach, seeking a mental health day may be more intimidating and challenging for the employee.
The Employee Struggle
Due to the stigma associated with mental illness, many employees struggle feeling comfortable discussing the issue with their employers. Even though employees who need time off because of a diagnosed mental illness are protected from discrimination by several laws, the response from their managers can still be a negative one.
I’m going to leave you with this phrase by Esther Gonzales Freeman, said to the Wall Street Journal: “I have never met anyone who was ashamed of their allergies or diabetes. So why should mental health be treated any differently?”
With that said, what do you think, should companies provide mental health days?