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Advocating for Mental Health Days in the Workplace
Posted by Insightlink on 10/21/22
Mental health advocacy in the workplace is a growing topic among employees and employers, but getting the ball rolling where you work can be intimidating and difficult. We spend a large majority of our time at work, so it needs to be a place where we feel comfortable being honest about mental health and any other issues in our lives. Mental health days are time off of work that allows employees to take a break from the stress and responsibility of work to recharge or address anything that is affecting their mental health. Much like a sick day, it gives employees an opportunity to recharge and recover.
More and more companies are implementing mental health days and other measures to improve the workplace environment of their business. These changes benefit not only the employees, but the employer as well by improving people’s motivation and productivity. If you want to advocate for more mental health days in your workplace, here are three easy things you can do to get started.
Normalize the Conversation
One of the most important ways to advocate for mental health days in the workplace, is to start to normalize conversations around mental health. By discussing mental health openly you begin to remove the stigmas that surround it, making it easier for your coworkers and employers to understand the importance of prioritizing it. Offices and businesses should be safe spaces for employees to share this kind of information and feel comfortable enough to express their needs.
Opening up a dialogue in your workplace will help others feel comfortable enough to open up about their struggles without feeling ashamed or afraid of the repercussions. This will also garner support for your overall mental health advocacy goals so that when you are ready to take the issue to your superiors, you have other people behind you. Many individuals are afraid to open up or ask for what they need, but by taking the first step you can ease a lot of these anxieties for everyone else.
Listen to Your Coworkers
In addition to opening up about your own needs and struggles with mental health, it is very important that you listen to your coworkers. There is often a major discrepancy between what management thinks employees need and what they actually do, but you can start to bridge this gap by being a voice of reason between the two. Perhaps your employer offers a stress relief workshop, but your coworkers feel that more frequent breaks would be a much better utilization of time.
Speaking to your coworkers also gives you an idea of what would make them more productive. Employees who are stressed, overworked, and dealing with mental health issues are not going to be as focused and motivated as they could be. By gathering information and shared experiences from your coworkers, you will be able to make a clearer, more concise explanation to your boss as to what changes would benefit both the employees and the company equally.
Talk to Your Boss
After you have set a positive tone concerning mental health among your coworkers, and discussed their personal experiences and needs, you are ready to bring your concerns to your employer. You can do this alone, or with the help of some of your coworkers who support what you are trying to accomplish. How you go about talking to your boss will depend on the specific culture of your workplace and the personality of your boss. Maybe they would be more comfortable and feel less attacked if you speak to them alone. In other cases, your boss might be more inclined to take the matter seriously if you have the clear support of some other employees.
However you decide to approach your boss about mental health days and other concerns, you want to also make sure you have your thoughts in order. Simply saying that you want more mental health considerations without any facts or reasons is not likely to get you very far. However, if you can clearly explain to your boss the benefits this would have for the company and your coworkers, you have a much better chance of seeing the results you want.
Roni Davis is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area. She writes for a worker’s compensation lawyer in Mount Holly, NJ.
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