Since an estimated 1 in 4 Americans have a mental health concern, it's pretty obvious that we have to deal with the fact that sometimes it can interfere with our work. So what do you do?
Let's say you are really struggling and don't think you would be performing your best at your job. What do you say? I have always treated my mental health concerns just like I would a physical health concern. If I'm going to be a detriment to my team and a day of rest would get me going again, then I feel comfortable saying "I'm not feeling well today. I'm going to stay home today, but I'll be back in the office tomorrow."
If you were throwing up or having diarrhea or coughing non-stop, no one would ask you go come in to work, so why should mental health concerns be any different? I don't feel obligated to spell out exactly what is keeping me from working, but I try to emphasize that it is temporary and I will be back as soon as possible.
I know not every job is as flexible regarding sick days (mental or physical), but I hope that more companies realize that letting an employee rest for one day allows them to bounce back more quickly and be more productive once they return to work.
Does your job let you feel comfortable in taking "mental health days"? Do you feel pressured to come in even if you're not feeling well? What are your strategies for managing mental health concerns and work?