Employees, Your Workers’ Mental Health Day
In a sea of over 40 vacation days, days off at your children’s school are a huge advantage for parents. We can save a little money, be there to give our children the best chance to improve their progress, and be a plus to our children as a great source of support. But when it comes to taking a break from work, one must wonder whether or not the concept of a “mental health day” makes sense for the working parent.
In schools across the country, teachers have begun to give students “mental health days,” which will be granted every other week, according to the Daily Mail. The classes that decide to take these days are typically children with disorders such as autism or obsessive compulsive disorder, a parent with children with mental illness, or those in treatment. All schools have teachers and counselors who can help students make these kinds of choices as well. Because of this, many of the students seeking to take these days can sometimes feel stigmatized or disliked.
Psychologists are supporting this new practice, stating that workplace environments that foster a supportive environment, combined with what they would consider a family atmosphere, are the ideal place for children with serious mental illness to learn to manage their illness.
“Intentional sick days are a thing of the past,” said Dr. Steven Weiss, a developmental psychologist who attended the first meeting. “I think the schools are just saying, ‘I want to get away from this stuff and I want to take a day off.’ Now [their children] can say, ‘I’m going to do something with my hands.’ It’s a very novel idea.”
There’s no doubt that children with mental illness deserve our empathy, and we must be an open and compassionate people. However, what does it really mean to take a mental health day when we have employees who are sick? We must remember that employees should not take sick days when they are not suffering from a sickness, whether it be a flu, a back injury, or a bipolar disorder. Sick days should not be taken unless we are actually sick.
Instead of calling in sick as a child at school takes a mental health day, some families use the day to be with their child or family members who suffer from mental illness. Instead of turning the day into a vacation time, families should be grateful that their loved ones are still here, making a living to provide for their children. Instead of asking what a second day at school will be like, we should be helping our children with their problems, not putting the burden of worrying on them.
(Sources:Daily Mail, Mental Health America, Merriam-Webster)