I just some quick thoughts on the idea of taking a “mental health day” from work or school.
I was in my Business class today and nearly half of my class didn’t show up and my Professor made a comment to the effect of, “Oh they must all be taking a so-called “mental health day”. Something about the way she said it, laughingly, got my attention and made me start to wonder why we get “sick days” for work and why only medical notes are what considers an absence for class excused.
Obviously the idea of a “mental health day” could be abused by those who are just simply not wanting to go into work or class; but can’t you also do that with a doctors note? There are days, we all have them, when we get so stressed and overwhelmed that we often find ourselves on the verge of a mental breakdown. I know I’ve found myself there more than once when there’s a lot going on at school; and then life throws some more at me because it seems that everything happens all at the same time. I’ve bawled my eyes out over the littlest things, panicked about nothing, and just been overwhelmed so easily when I am extremely stressed, and I know I am not the only one.
It should be okay for us to call into work or email a Professor saying, “Sorry I wasn’t there today, I really needed a mental break.” I understand that a lot of this problem is society’s fault, and the pressure and fast pace of today’s world doesn’t help. However, that is never going to change unless we force it to.
We need to start acknowledging that our mental health is just as, in fact maybe more, important than our physical health.
I know this all won’t change overnight, but don’t let an unexcused absence keep you from taking care of your mental health. Sometimes you have to put yourself first and do what you need to do to be in a good place where you can both be and perform at your best.