Yes, Mental Health Is A Viable Excuse To Miss Work
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Health and Wellness

Yes, Mental Health Is A Viable Excuse To Miss Work

Your reasons, your rights, and real life problems.

Yes, Mental Health Is A Viable Excuse To Miss Work
Huffington Post UK

We’ve all heard of the term, “Mental Health Day” but is it an actual excuse to miss work?

As a person who suffers from severe anxiety I tend to think it should be a valid excuse but unfortunately, there are many people in the workplace who tend to disagree. About one-fourth of Americans suffer from mental illness in any given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and an estimated 83 percent of Americans are under stress in the workplace, according to a 2013 survey.

So why is it so difficult to get a day to unwind and take care of yourself?


There is a huge stigma behind those suffering with mental illness, especially those with an actual diagnosis. I personally never have met a person who wanted to disclose such private information especially to a boss or workplace. Anxiety is seen as obsessive worrying that has an on and off switch. “Just calm down” or “Relax, everything is fine.” Some of the “wise” words of advice that people who are anxious hear on the regular. Nobody wants to be seen as odd or different in the workplace so instead of embracing their mental health, they shrug it off which can lead to some issues.

There are so many stereotypes about mental illness that are viewed negatively. For instance, homelessness, poverty, and unemployment are some of the constant stigmas that affect those who suffer from mental illness. Stigmas and discrimination can trap those in a vicious cycle in which they don’t feel it is necessary to get help.

Missing Work

A job is your job for a reason and many people don’t want to miss out on work.

If you are not suffering from a severe illness, why can’t you come in to finish that deadline? You don’t have the flu or chicken pox so that means you’re okay to come in, right? Many people in the United States are focused on getting work done no matter what happens.

Bills need to be paid; children need to go to school, and to afford the finer things in life we need to work a little, right? Physical ailments such as a cold, the flu, or broken bones are legally mandated for people to stay home to avoid getting others sick and also healing properly. If we can do that for physical issues, what difference does mental health make? Both are debilitating and can lead to some very serious complications. A panic attack can cause somatic symptoms such as heart racing, sweating, nausea, stomach cramps, and headaches.

Doesn’t that sound similar to a cold or flu?

So what are your rights in the workplace in regards to taking a day off for mental health? According to American Disability Act they grant "reasonable accommodations" to qualified employees with disabilities. Many employers are aware of different types of accommodations for people with physical and communication disabilities, but they may be less familiar with accommodations for employees with disabilities that are not visible, such as psychiatric disabilities. The amount of people who are slowly opening up to their struggles with mental health are showing the world that it may be okay to take a “mental health day.”

Know your rights as an employee and never feel as though you need to hide from your employer about your health. If it affects you, it will ultimately affect your work which in turn is bad for your job and employer.

As always, there are many options to get help. See if your job has a stress management program, see if your health insurance will cover therapy, and find techniques they can help you with the stress of your job.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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