mental health sick leave

Mental health sick leave: a healthcare tool

Mental health sick leave is a right workers have when their mental health suffers due to disorders such as depression. Mental health sick leave is a tool they use when they need to halt their work activity temporarily to follow their treatment properly and recover from it.

Different causes give rise to this health problem and can lead to a mental health sick leave related to depression that negatively impacts the company, apart from the negative impact on the individual’s health. Some of these causes may be related to work itself. This is why companies have a great responsibility to prevent possible risk factors in this area. In addition, they must take into account the complexity of this issue in order to be able to provide the employee being affected by it with the support they need.

It is important to remember that depression is a mental health disorder that can manifest itself with varying levels of severity and, therefore, with different consequences in the lives of the people affected and their environments. When it is very intense, it should be considered a serious health problem and can involve a significant degree of limitation for the person who suffers from it. 

Usually, this mood disorder tends to be confused with a feeling of intense sadness in which the person is plunged into a permanent state of melancholy that is difficult to get rid of and that isolates them from their environment. In reality, in addition to this melancholic state, depression must be related to a generalized and profound feeling of apathy, unwillingness, hopelessness, difficulty in enjoying and getting involved in different aspects of life, and emotional disconnection towards their surroundings. 

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How is mental health sick leave related to companies?

Companies play a key role when it comes to mental health sick leaves. Mental health problems in the workplace can be prevented if HR managers implement the right help to avoid issues from emerging in the first place.

What is mental health sick leave?

Mental health sick leave is the right employees have to take time off work due to poor mental health. It is important to consider preventative measures, such as implementing mental well-being solutions in a company, in order to tackle mental health issues before they arise.

Why is mental health sick leave important?

If employees aren’t well mentally, this will affect their tasks and productivity. Therefore, it is important to give them time to get better so they can come back and perform optimally.

What can I do to prevent the need for mental health sick leave in the future?

To prevent the need for future mental health sick leave, it’s essential to prioritise your mental health, this can be done through mental well-being solutions provided by your company. Additionally, consider discussing accommodations with your employer, such as flexible work hours or remote work options, to maintain a better work-life balance and reduce stress.

How should I communicate with my employer about my mental health sick leave?

Open and honest communication is essential when discussing mental health sick leave with your employer. You can consider having a private conversation with your supervisor or HR representative to explain your situation. Emphasize your commitment to your mental health recovery and discuss potential accommodations or work adjustments that may facilitate your return to work.

mental health sick leave

The benefits of mental health sick leave

As stated above, it is a mistake to consider that a person suffering from depression is simply someone who is very sad. It is rather someone who is so “switched off” that their responsibility and attachment to life and people is progressively weakening.

For this reason, it is of great importance to properly diagnose the presence of depression, to apply the necessary psychological and, if necessary, psychiatric treatment, and to provide the person affected with the necessary support to address their immediate health goal: to recover as soon as possible.

This requires time, and in this context, the concept of mental health sick leave is introduced and takes on its full relevance. We must bear in mind that, at a certain point, the person suffering from depression is neither psychologically nor physically able to perform the tasks assigned to them by their job properly. For this reason, they need to take a break to try to get back on their feet without necessarily losing their job, which is a highly undesirable consequence.

Reasons to take mental health sick leave due to depression

At a bureaucratic level, it is established that the employee may need mental health sick leave due to two different reasons.

Common contingencies

On the one hand, there are personal reasons, i.e., those that trigger depression that are not related to work. These types of causes are considered common contingencies, and the family doctor is in charge of managing the sick leave.

Profesional contingencies

On the other hand, we must look at the reasons that are directly related to work (for example a continuous situation of burnout, conflicts with co-workers, or even suffering sexual harassment by a team member). In this case, we are talking about professional contingencies and, unlike in the other case, the mutual insurance company is responsible for accrediting them.

Unfortunately, it is not always possible for companies to avoid the emergence of depression among their employees. However, every organization must do its best to prevent it, knowing which professional contingencies can cause it and taking the necessary measures to take care of the health of the members of the workforce. 

How can employees use Wellness Action Plan to prevent mental health sick leave?

Companies’ need to take preventative measures so that employees can address their mental well-being even before they appear. These coping mechanisms can include a variety of resources and of course, therapy. A useful tool is a Wellness Action Plan (WAP) created by our team of workplace well-being experts. This document is custom-designed for each employee to improve their psychological well-being at work through a series of questions. This document is to be filled out by both the employee and the manager to analyse different well-being triggers and how they can tackle them together. This document is confidential and can only be accessed by the employee and their manager.

Returning to work after mental health sick leave

Returning to work after a period of mental health sick leave can be challenging, and employees need the organisation’s full support. It’s essential to approach this process with care and consideration for your well-being. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Open Communication: There should be communication throughout the leave but without being too intrusive. Start by communicating with your manager and HR department before your return. Share your expected return date and any adjustments you may need to ensure a smooth transition back to work. Being transparent about your needs is vital.
  • Gradual Return: If possible, consider a gradual return to work. This could involve reduced hours or a flexible working day, allowing you to ease back into your role while adjusting your personal life.
  • Monitor Progress: Regularly assess your progress and mental well-being, you can do this through different resources in our Resources section. If you encounter difficulties or setbacks, don’t hesitate to seek additional support or consider adjustments to your work plan.
  • Seek mental well-being support (if you haven’t already): Continue to work with a psychologist if needed. Regular therapy sessions or check-ins with a professional can help ensure you stay on the path to recovery.
mental health sick leave

Mental well-being program for companies

Organizations are not alone when facing this responsibility. Ifeel has created an emotional well-being program for companies designed by its team of leading psychologists to help companies boost their employees’ mental health, placing it at the core of their strategy to improve productivity sustainably.  

Thanks to this partnership, HR managers can receive personalized, data-driven advice on the most effective measures to prevent a mental health sick leave among employees or address it in the best way for all involved once it has already happened.  

In addition, ifeel’s emotional well-being program for companies offers employees a mental health care service structured at different levels depending on individual needs. This way, employees can access various mental health care tools with ifeel’s app. On level two, they can receive emotional support through a chat with one of our platform’s licensed psychologists. If additional support is needed, they can access the third level of the program: online psychological therapy with a psychologist specialized in cases such as theirs. 

We hope you have found this post about mental health sick leave useful. If you want more information about our emotional well-being program for companies, simply request it and we will contact your team as soon as possible.

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