Just as you would treat a sprained ankle before it gets worse, you need to treat your brain before it gets sick.
Mental health rarely gets the same respect as, for example, a common cold. Instead, people are told to “get over it” when they’re struggling with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues.
Firstly, mental illness is not the type of thing that happens to someone else.
- 450 million people worldwide have a mental health problem.
- One in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives.
- Around one in ten children experience mental health problems.
- Depression affects around one in 12 of the whole population.
- Rates of self-harm in the UK are the highest in Europe at 400 per 100,000.
We need to start knowing how to react to signs of mental illness early on and treat it with the respect and deference that it deserves.
No one should ever be made to feel ashamed or embarrassed to tell anyone that they experience mental health problems or that they just need a mental health day.
Madalyn Parker, a web developer in Ann Arbor, Michigan, emailed her colleagues to say she’d be using two sick days to focus on her mental health. The company’s CEO, Ben Congleton, responded by thanking her for helping “cut through the stigma of mental health.”
If you don’t address your mental health, it will eventually get the best of you, affecting your performance and ability to carry on with your life and work.
Employers need to start taking a different approach as this has been proved again and again, to greatly affect productivity.
How do you know you might need a mental health day?
Here are a few times when you might decide you need a mental health day even if you don’t have a diagnosed mental illness:
- When you are distracted by something you need to address to get on with your day. If there’s something at home that you need to deal with in order to feel that you’re back in control, you might need to address it before it causes you anxiety.
- When self-neglect has become evident to yourself. The inability or unwillingness to attend to one’s personal needs or hygiene, either by not attending to one’s nutrition, hygiene, or clothing can all be symptoms of a bigger problem, and yet, addressing self-neglect has a positive outcome on a person’s self-esteem and mental health.
Mental health does not need to be a taboo anymore or an issue we sweep under the carpet as you might be denying yourself support or to those you love the most.
We need to start changing our paradigms about mental health in order to create a better work or home environment for ourselves and those around us.