Why do we lie? In this day and age, we should be able to speak the truth and let people know we need a mental health day. It’s not really about calling it a mental health day, it’s about being okay with showing vulnerability at work without fear of judgement or stigma, and knowing we will be supported. Whether we are not coping, or we are burnt out, or we have a developing mental illness we should be able to disclose without fear of judgement or stigma. Being vulnerable to what life can deal us is not a sign of weakness, it is a strength to be self-aware enough to recognise the need for self-care, beat the fear, release the shame, build the courage and act on it in a proactive way. This proactive approach can positively impact our wellbeing longer term and make us a better person and employee. There is no courage without vulnerability.
Stress, burnout, substance use and mental illness costs billions to our community. Work-related stress alone is associated with an increased risk for ill health (e.g., coronary heart disease, depression, anxiety and musculoskeletal pain) and overall mortality. Absenteeism, presenteeism (at work but unproductive), productivity losses and workplace accidents due to stress cost around $44 billion in the US, 15.1 billion pounds in the UK, and $12.6 billion in Australia each year.
Research shows that employers who invest in mentally healthy workplaces would see a reduction in sickness and absence, along with increased productivity and higher retention. PriceWaterhouseCoopers found each dollar spent on workplace health meant a $14.50 return on productivity for some industries.
Let’s include Mental Health Days in this investment. Companies and organisations can show support via this hashtag #wesupportamentalhealthday