The importance of employees taking care of their mental health

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 11:16 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Calling in sick to work is nothing new, but now taking a mental health day is something more companies are honoring in a modern work world.

Psychologist James Bray (Ph.D.), a Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas-San Antonio and former American Psychological Association President, joined First News at Four to discuss why now more than ever its important for people to the conscious of their mental health.

The American Psychological Association did a survey on stress in America that found that people were more stressed due to COVID, economic uncertainty, inflation, and war.

One thing people may not think about is the negative effects a lack of separation between work and home lives can have. This was something many people had to deal with due to the pandemic.

“You’re working at home, you’re living at home and you can’t go anywhere and that just adds to the complications and stress that people are experiencing,” explained Dr. Bray.

While it’s clear people are stressed, the question is, are they willing to do something about it?

Dr. Bray believes “the stigma [around taking mental health days] really has decreased over the last four or five years, and it really started decreasing a lot because of the opioid epidemic and people realize that people are having mental health problems or having drug issues.”

He pointed to the Olympics, where athletes like Simone Biles put a spotlight onto mental health, getting people to recognize that mental health “is impacting their performance and they need to basically back off in order to take care of themselves.”

There appears to be less stigma for younger people than older generations according to Dr. Bray.

Luckily, Dr. Bray has seen that “companies are also recognizing that healthy, happy employees in health, meaning mental health as well as physical health, means that employees are going to be more productive.”

People are now recognizing that sick leave also includes when you’re not feeling well emotionally, but there are other ways Dr. Bray recommends avoiding burnout for those who can’t afford a day off:

  • Limit time on the computer screen daily
  • Engage in some fun activities during the day
  • Have a period of time where work is turned off
  • Get regular exercise

Watch the full interview in the player above.

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