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How To Request a Mental Health Day at Work (with Email Templates)

Category: Mental Health
6 minute read.

Everybody has their ups and downs, so being able to take a mental health day should be a given in the workplace. After all, mental health is health, and every person has a right to look after their well-being. But requesting a day off for mental health is still a relatively new concept in companies, leaving employees unsure about if they should and if so, how?

Why You Should Take a Mental Health Day

Taking a mental health day is important for your overall well-being. We’re humans, not machines – sometimes we need days where we can take a break from the stresses of everyday life to focus on ourselves. On top of preventing burnout, mental health days can provide you with a sense of clarity, re-energize you with motivation, and help you find balance.

Many people may feel guilty for taking a day off, but it is essential to remember that mental health is just as important as physical health. By taking a mental health day, you are investing in your overall health, which can ultimately lead to increased productivity and a better work-life balance. So, take the time to prioritize your mental health and incorporate regular mental health days into your routine.

How to Say You Need a Mental Health Day

Asking for a mental health day off work can be anxiety-inducing, especially if you work at a company that doesn’t seem to be favorable of them. Here are some steps on how to request a mental health day.

  1. Know your rights. If you’re hesitant to ask for a mental health day off due to potential push back you may get from your employer, it may be reassuring to know your company’s time off policy and your state’s Paid Sick Leave (PSL) law. California’s PSL law specifies that paid sick leave can be used when you are recovering from both physical and mental illness. And this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have a diagnosed mental illness in order to use sick leave.
  2. Contact your work as soon as you can. This can be hard because sometimes mentally hard days come up randomly, like a fever would. But if you can anticipate when you’ll need a mental health day off, try your best to give notice about your absence as soon as possible. This gives your colleagues time to prepare and adjust for your leave.
  3. Assess what you’re comfortable sharing. It’s easy to feel pressured to give a detailed explanation for your request, but when it comes to taking PTO and sick leave you can keep it as vague as you’d like. Your PTO is yours, and employers generally have to allow the use of paid sick leave even without the employee providing details or producing a doctor’s note. But depending on the culture of your company or who your employer is, you may feel compelled disclosing more and that’s fine too. Either way, make sure to keep your explanation brief and professional.
  4. Plan out your words. It can be nerve-wracking asking for a mental health day off, especially when you are already feeling emotionally overwhelmed. Planning out what you’re going to say can build the confidence you need to ask for what you deserve!

 

Mental Health Day Email Templates

If you’d rather ask for a mental health day off through email than in person, we totally get it. So, here are some email templates that will hopefully help you out, as specific or as general as you’d like.

Without the Details

Requesting in Advance with PTO

Hi [SUPERVISOR’S NAME],

Just letting you know that I will be taking a personal day on [DATE], so I will be out of office. I will make sure to wrap up any pressing responsibilities before then so that everything will still run smoothly during my absence.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks!

[YOUR NAME]

 

Requesting Unexpectedly with Sick Leave

Hi [SUPERVISOR’S NAME],

Unfortunately, I am feeling unwell and will need to take a sick day today, [Date]. I have notified [COWORKER], and [she/he/they] will be able to take care of anything urgent that may come up.

Thanks for your understanding,

[YOUR NAME]

 

With the Details

Requesting in Advance with PTO

Hi [SUPERVISOR’S NAME],

I’d like to request a mental health day on [DATE]. I am having trouble maintaining my ideal level of productivity at work, and would like to take the day off to recharge and focus on my mental wellbeing. I can wrap up and address any time sensitive matters beforehand so that everything will still run smoothly during my absence.

I want to better position myself to do my best work for both this company and my coworkers, so I would greatly appreciate your support. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns I can address.

Thanks!

[NAME]

 

Requesting Unexpectedly with Sick Leave

Hi [SUPERVISOR’S NAME],

Unfortunately, I am struggling with my mental health today and need to take a sick day. I have notified [COWORKER], and [she/he/they] will be able to take care of anything urgent that may come up.

I anticipate coming back tomorrow in a better place to bring my best work. Thank you for your understanding!

Best,

[YOUR NAME]

Can’t Take a Mental Health Day Off Work?

Unfortunately, not everyone is in a position to ask for a mental health day. When you work on an hourly wage, you either have to risk losing out on a day’s pay or maybe lose your job entirely. Even if you work on salary, what do you do if you already used up your PTO and/or sick days?

If you are unable to take a mental health day off work, there are still steps you can take to prioritize your well-being. If you can’t take a full day off, take an hour or two instead. If not, one way is to practice self-care throughout your day. This can include taking breaks when needed, going for a walk, practicing mindfulness, and disconnecting from work outside of work hours. Additionally, you can try to reduce your workload or delegate tasks to others to ease the burden on yourself.

 

Remember, it’s not always about taking the entire day off, but finding small moments to prioritize your mental health in between the hustle and bustle of daily life. If you need help prioritizing your mental health, LAOP is an adult outpatient center with compassionate mental health professionals who can you build effective coping mechanisms and strategies to manage stress. We provide specialized programs comprised of research-based treatments and services catered to each individual’s needs. To learn more, contact a member of our admissions team today.