Should we be allowed mental health days?

by - 17:07:00

Hello everyone 😊

Hope you all have something to smile about today and if not then go and do something positive. I have had a successful start to September as I have managed to finish my Web Developer Course and I have passed all my exams which I'm so happy about. I have learnt a lot, I would like to pick up another course but focusing on one aspect rather than many as I do worry it's a lot to remember! But to be honest it's handy to know little things about programming because a lot of the times when you are coding your own websites or creating apps you use the internet and our great friend Google the majority of the time!

Today's blog post is about having days off work for mental health days. I've been reading into it and I also know people that have had time off work for mental health reasons and I felt it is an important topic to cover. I know everyone probably has different opinions on this subject, it could also depend on if you're a manager that has to agree on having these days off for your staff or you're a colleague needing a mental health day off but need permission from your manager.

My Story:

Back in March when I was at my worst I only ended up having a week off work but that's when I got to a point that I was ridiculously ill - I felt like I couldn't just call into work and say 'I need the day off because I'm stressed or my anxiety is really bad today' so I ended up just going to work until it made me physically ill which is definitely not a good way to go about it. I felt like there wasn't an easy way to point out evidence of how I was feeling, no blocked nose or cough that someone could hear over the phone, no being physically sick, and the thought of telling someone that I was struggling felt too awkward for me, and so I would force myself to go to work and stare at a screen while I was mentally in a pit.

But in the end having that week off helped me immensely - I went from being that ill that I couldn't walk around my house to feeling a lot better. Although that was a huge turning point for me as that's when I started to speak out to friends and family and started to get help.

My Opinion:

From that experience I feel it's important to have mental health days. If you're feeling so stressed that you're making yourself unwell that you need to take the time to relax, and if that means just having an odd day off here and there then I don't see what's wrong with that. Of course from a company side there can be that risk that people may not be telling the truth and just pretending so they can have the days off but I guess you just have to trust people. I think a lot of the time you can tell if someone is stressed and struggling, their mood will be different, their work might not be up to the usual standard etc. Of course if it's over a few months as long as that person has a sick note from the doctor it's fine also. At least you know that that person is trying to get better and they get seen by a doctor regularly.

Put it this way, if physical health was impairing your work you'd take the time off so it should be the same for your mental health. It could be that your anxiety is overwhelming to the point that you just cannot focus or lost your motivation completely, or you could notice that while you're feeling like this you keep making little mistakes at work. Surely its best to take the day off to recharge, talk to someone and just have a day of self-care?

However I do feel that when you do have time off it's best that it's a proactive day. Of course it's fine to have that odd day in bed just doing nothing but getting rest but sometimes that won't help for the long-run, you might find that you'll go back to work and within a few weeks you'll feel bad again. Also if you have sick days every time you feel low or anxious then you'll likely set up a pattern of avoidance, you'll keep telling yourself that it's right and that things are too scary to overcome. If it's long term then speak to a doctor or a therapist, read about self-care and what you can do to feel better, if you can write down what's causing the stress, what is the biggest topic that's causing it? If its your job then maybe it's time to move on and find something different?

Also if you do find that it is long-term then it's always best to speak to your boss so they can understand what is going on and what you're going through, that way they'll be prepared if you take occasional days off to deal with things. Sometimes I feel like it's not a bad thing if its a one-off that when you need a day off because of stress you lie and say you're feeling ill or being sick etc if you're not super comfortable in talking to your boss about your mental illness. Although if it is a regular occurrence then of course you should open up to your boss. However it is a very good thing to open up about your mental health to your boss as this can help many things and it is important to start a conversation about mental well-being in the workplace as this may help others to speak up too.

What are your opinions on this? 


I asked Alyx who is currently having time off work for their opinion on this subject:

ðŸ—ĻI remember being told by my team leader at work that they ‘do not believe in mental health days off as people could take advantage’. This ultimately lead to me having several breakdowns at work and being on long term sick; being unable to even stand a full week at my desk.

Work is stressful, repetitive, and it can make you feel like you’re stuck in this 9 to 5 cycle: ‘wake up, go to work, come home, sleep, repeat’. For people who are suffering with mental health conditions, this can feel like hell, like you can’t escape. At least that’s what it was like for me.

People who are dealing with depression, anxiety, stress etc, they need that day. That day to focus on themselves, to just do what they want to, clear their mind and look after their physical and mental health. We don’t give ourselves enough attention, we feel that everything else is more important and we neglect ourselves, when in reality the most important thing to us is our health. It’s not always selfish to be selfish and focus on us.

I understand that there are people who may ‘take advantage’, as my team leader put it, but think about it, whether they are suffering with their mental health or not, everyone feels stress and tired from work and everyone deserves a break.

There is still a huge stigma about mental health and there are still so many people who don’t understand what sufferers are going through, or have been misinformed on the issue.
But as mental health is finally starting to be focused on more in the work place, hopefully mental health days off of work will become the norm and sufferers will get the support they need and deserve.ðŸ—Đ


Everyone has different opinions on this of course but I feel it is an important topic. I have also been doing some reading about this topic to see what professionals think about it. I had a read on the Mental Health Foundation website who had these statistics:

website link

A recent survey of 4,619 adults over the age of 18 showed that 32% of us get stressed by thinking about work in personal time, 23% compromise our health to get work done and 16% compromise relationships.

Of course stress is a pretty normal thing for all of us however if it becomes constant and overwhelming then it can cause problems that would affect our lives. Stress isn't a mental health problem in itself but it links to depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicide and physical health problems too.

The Mental Health Foundation have a system in place for their colleagues where they all get three 'well-being days' each year. So if someone is starting to feel stressed and feels like work is getting on top of them then they can take a day for themselves and then come back the next day feeling refreshed and ready to work. They have advised that it improves productivity and also sends a powerful message that your mental well-being is important.

National Statistics say that stress and other mental health problems are the fourth highest cause of sickness absence. But from the survey that was done by the Mental Health Foundation it is suggested that 45% of people will make up an alternative reason for absence rather than report a mental health issue to their boss. They also found that 28% of us feel less productive than we could be at work because of stress.

I think it's important to know that your needs are valid. When you call up for a day off you don't need to exaggerate or downplay, make excuses or defend yourself. You're not doing well and you've made an adult decision about needing to take time off.

I hope this post has been interesting and as always,

chat soon

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