Talking about mental health is kind of a taboo subject. A lot of people would rather talk about sex or how much they make than discuss their mental health. And that’s a big problem because mental health doesn’t just refer to people struggling with chronic depression or schizophrenia. Every single person has to deal with their own mental health. We need to understand our anxieties and our emotions, and when we’re reaching our limits and how to deal with difficult things in a constructive way. One of the best things an employer can do for their employees is start the conversation about mental health before problems arise and grant employees paid mental health days.
Mental Health is Just as Important as Physical Health.
The way we treat individuals struggling with depression is very different than how we treat those who are fighting cancer. That makes sense. Physical sickness is much easier to see and wrap our brains around. When someone who is (or seems) physically fit has no energy or motivation, it’s hard not to just feel like they should “stop being lazy” or “snap out of it.” But mental health problems aren’t mended through “sucking it up” any more than a broken arm is. And just because our society doesn’t like talking about mental health doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Employees are Already Taking Mental Health Days.
If you offer your employees the opportunity to take sick days, then they’re likely already taking mental health days. But, instead of being able to be honest about feeling burned out, they’ll lie when they call in sick to blame a physical ailment. Often, the guilt of lying causes additional anxiety and makes everything worse. At Health Risk, we suggest offering employees “wellness and health days.” These paid days should be available for physical illness but also mental health days. That way employees can take the time they need to feel better without needing to lie.
According to research, better health benefits and more paid sick days are some of the top priorities of today’s employees. Just under 80% of employees would rather see better benefits than a pay raise, so it’s important to keep in mind what your employees actually want from you and your company. At Health Risk, we recommend offering your employees paid mental health days because an employee who feels like they can take a day to unwind will be more productive and grateful for their job in the long run.
At Health Risk, we want to see employees across Canada having access to the benefits they want and need. If you want to offer your employees a better health plan, than Health Risk is here to help. Call us today.