Monday, October 15, 2012

Me Days

If you work in mental health services like me, or other health care settings, or hell - any job at all, does your employer offer mental health days?

Mine does.  They used to be classified as "mental health days" and now are part of our "personal days" which includes our sick days as well.

I've always thought this is a really great benefit, and makes sense since a mental health focused agency should understand that we all benefit from staff being in good mental shape.

Somehow I stopped to think about this today and realized that in my five years working here I have taken two - just 2! - mental health days.  Once was when we learned we were loosing our child care provider.  I was in a panic and needed time to focus on finding a new one.  The second was when my partner had been away for about a month on a job and had a really miserable time.  I wanted to be there for him when he got home.

So why?  Why if I value this benefit so much do I not take advantage of it?  There is guilt involved for sure.  And the dread of having more worked piled up when I return.  Plus the time consuming factor of having to rebook appointments.  Worry that I won't make my "numbers" that month if I miss a day.

I think I just like to know they are there.  That I have the option to take some me time without having to lie about being sick or something.  Maybe I'm just waiting for a really good reason to take a day.  What would that reason have to be?  I likely won't know until it hits me.


  1. I can definitely relate! I can only remember one occasion when I had some serious counter-transference with a patient (I identified with her to an extreme and she had some awful things going on) and took a "mental health day." Otherwise I'm so concerned about my colleagues having coverage that I don't tend to take them... Of course, intellectually we both know how important self care is, time to start practicing it :)

  2. When you need a mental health day you definitely know it!