Workers not ‘comfortable’ taking sick leave for mental health issues

Some 60 per cent of Irish workers are "not comfortable" taking sick leave if or when they experience mental health challenges.

This is according to a survey commissioned by Mojo, a leading men’s health and wellbeing training programme.

Other findings from the survey show that almost two thirds of Irish workers are unsure if they would feel comfortable speaking to their employer if they were experiencing mental health challenges, and more than 40 per cent said they do not know if they would receive the required support.

Mojo programme director, Derek McDonnell, said: “Awareness of mental health challenges by employers is growing, but unless employees feel comfortable taking a day off when they really need it, people will continue to struggle with the pressures of work/life balance. Driven by the needs of the men we serve, Mojo commissioned this independent survey to show the need to invest in mental health services and practices at the workplace and to start a national conversation about mental health wellbeing in the workplace.

“What is evident, by our work and by the results, is that Irish employees feel comfortable taking a day off when they have a flu or cold but not when they are stressed or anxious. Both mental and physical conditions can stem from exhaustion, work pressures, and not looking after yourself, so both should be considered equally. The bottom line is that some employees feel that if they admit to experiencing a mental challenge, they might be passed up for a promotion as they may be seen as ‘not capable’.

"This is the stigma we have to break with employers, employees, and society so that we all accept and understand that you can be challenged by mental health as easily as you can from a common cold and equally they must be treated appropriately.”

On November 19, International Men’s Day, Mojo will launch 'Mojo Rising', an event taking place in Dublin to shine a light through music, dance, comedy, and spoken word. The event will bring together acts from across the arts in support of men who are facing mental health challenges.

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