Thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts. It’s greatly appreciated and I agree with your views on the role workplaces can have but too often don’t when it comes to mental health. On to your questions!
1. I am curious to know if your workplace supported your mental health and well-being?
Here in Sweden we have social safety nets like universal health care. All I had to do was to go to the doctor, get the papers, give copies to the workplace & social insurance agency, and that was it. The workplace basically did nothing but wait for me to resolve the issues with the doctors and mental health workers. Now, had they suggested the workplace to make (reasonable) adjustments to my duties then there are laws in place that ensure they have an obligation to do so. However, those options were never explored since the process dragged on for my months and I was fired.
2. Did you find that you could speak to your manager about taking mental health days?
While I felt some support, they suggested I go on medication instead so I could get back to work. So, I didn’t really feel comfortable talking about my mental health, and I wasn’t presented with or familiar with the option of mental health days at that time.
Now, I’ve mainly talked about the auto-industry, but I’ve found other places I’ve worked at to be more accommodating and open to discussions about mental health.
However, none of them have been able to work with mental health with a long-term perspective. Yes, when depression or anxiety hits an employee they deploy resources to fix the immediate issue, but it isn’t always a quick fix.
Now, it isn’t necessarily their problem to fix either (sometimes there’s little they can do), but understanding the role workplaces can play in both the occurrence of and solutions to mental health issues is something that really needs to be talked about. Openly.