Did you remember this viral post of an employee asking for a mental health break from her boss?
Madelyn Parker sent this email to her boss Olark CEO Ben Congleton to take time off to focus more on her depression explaining further that she’ll be back the following week feeling refreshed and back to 100%. His boss gladly agreed and granted the leave and even acknowledged the fact that other organizations should also provide this privilege to their employees.
Ending The Stigma of Mental Illness
Mental illness should not be an obstacle in a person’s quest to find normalcy in their life. In an interview with the CEO who granted Parker’s request, he did not only emphasize the importance of mental health as beneficial to the wellness of individuals but he also encouraged a compassionate environment that pushes great potential to enhance overall performance in the workplace.
When we get sick, we file for sick days and take a rest in order for our body to be energized again. When a runner or basketball player gets injured he is not allowed to play but rather he is obligated to rest for some time in order to heal the injuries until he can provide a 100% performance again. This does not make any difference if someone feels in the dumps.
According to Stacy Donn Cristo, LMHC, “depression and anxiety are feelings that we would want to rid ourselves of, not turn into and certainly not welcome.” Understandably, a person with a mental health condition will affect his work performance and the results will not be at par compared to those who are mentally well. But we never raise an eyebrow whenever a diabetic or a cancer employee calls in and says they cannot come to work because they are not feeling well. Therefore, there is still that bias in the workplace whenever an employee has a mental health condition. More questions are being asked regarding this issue. What if this is allowed or what if the employee can no longer function efficiently? Companies should also take into consideration the welfare of their workers and this should include mental health and wellness of each staff.
Tips on How to Avail Mental Health Break
“Depression is real and painful. Just because you can’t see or touch it doesn’t make it any less real,” says Charmaine J. Simmons, LPC.
It is important to take care of your mental health. If you are looking for a job and have been diagnosed with depression or any mental illness, try to inquire if the company offers mental health services for their employees. This would include counseling or taking time off just like what Parker did. Take note that this should be different from vacation leaves. Mental health break is specifically intended for seeking mental health treatment and rejuvenation.
“Depression symptoms are particularly troubling if someone displays more than one, or if they persist for more than two weeks,” says Simon Rego, PsyD, associate professor of clinical psychiatry. It is important that you need to know what your company can do for you so that you will not be put in a haphazard position whenever your depression hits rock bottom.
Definitely, the company would wonder why you will ask these questions so we suggest that you have to be honest about your condition.
If you are already working for a company with such benefits, be responsible and honest in obtaining them. Strictly follow your treatment plan and adhere to the advice of your therapist. Don’t forget to take your medications as they can help a lot in regulating your mood, allowing you to perform at your optimum level.
The CEO was firm in advocating mental health and wellness in the workplace. This is an initial step towards ending the stigma on mental illness, which surprisingly we still experience in this digital age. Despite the continuous information dissemination and increasing the awareness about mental illness, there are still a few people who don’t give importance to mental health. The author is hopeful that this article will inspire managers in allowing their employees such benefits.