Uploaded by Tatyana Williams

Research Paper

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Tatyana Williams
Amanda Coyne
ENG 201-805
24 July 2018
The Necessity of the Mental Health Day Off
In June 2017, Madalyn Rose tweeted out a screenshot of an email from her employer.
The email was a positive response to her request to use her sick days for mental health reasons.
“You are an example to all of us and help cut the stigma…” (Twitter) The tweet went viral and
received positive response from thousands online and began to spark the conversation once
again. In the past decade, mental health has been a soaring topic. From the establishment of
mental health awareness month to various organizations, blogs and more surrounding the subject.
1 in 5 adults live with mental illness (NIMH) which allows the idea of taking mental health days
off not unreasonable. Yet, it is more difficult than one would think.
An article on the site Business Insider describes the feeling of guilty behind taking a day
off. “I knew I needed it, but it was an uncomfortable decision. I wondered, was this really a
legitimate use of a sick day? Was I being unprofessional?”, wrote a writer under the alias Pretty
Young Professional on the website. Mental health despite it being talked about almost
universally, still provides a stigma. Even with the high number of the world population affected,
there is only a small percentage of those who receive treatment for it. As low as 20% according
to the CDC. Even though there is the initial guilt, the senior VP of ComPsych Corp. validates the
idea. “We’re running at 120 mph with work and family, and … you need to re-energize and refocus. If you don’t, you’re going to get burnt out (Gurchiek, SHRM)” he states in the article.
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According to the same article, the some of the main reasons for mental health days
included family and relationship issues, stress and overall boredom at work. Work-related spaces
are said to have negative effects on one’s mental stability. From the stress of tasks to the
sometimes-restricting environment, work can enable stressors that later results in more physical
symptoms. This with the article referring back to little things such as headaches to even chronic
illnesses. This had led to various scholars to evaluate the effects of the workplace. In The
Interconnection between Mental Health, Work and Belonging: A Phenomenological
Investigation, authors Olav Tangvald-Pedersen & Rob Bongaardt investigate the effects of the
workplace on a person’s mental health. They found that there may be a positive effect, they also
take the time to reinforce the idea that mental health is still negatively affected. They mention
this about the unlikely but true balance of it all:
To be taken care of, sheltered and relieved of stressful jobs, strengthens one’s sense of
belonging in the workplace. Too much focus on care and relief, however, might diminish
the sense of belonging, as such a focus initiates a sense of being professionally redundant.
On the other hand, being appreciated as a professional worker strengthens one’s sense of
belonging in the workplace, but focusing on professionalism alone might also diminish
the sense of belonging by arousing feelings of inadequacy. (Tangvald-Pedersen,
Bongaardt 11)
With work as one of the top stressors (Pretty Young Professional), it is simple to say that a
mental health day off may be necessary to maintain a healthier mind.
Days off may be necessary at work but at school too. With an estimated 49.5% of teens
between the ages of 13-18 having a mental disorder (NIMH), the start of proper mental health
care starts with the kids. The scholarly analysis, Evidence-Based Assessment in School Mental
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Health, looks into the treatment of mental health in schools. It is reported there that as low as
64% and as high as 80% of children with a mental illness don’t receive any type of treatment. “It
is possible that clinicians who serve minority youth and/or those of lower socioeconomic status,
such as school-based clinicians, may be even less favorably inclined to the use of standardized
assessment measures”, this statement varying from the school not providing resources to families
unable to afford proper treatment or not acknowledging these issues. The paper stresses the need
for resources within schools to treat children with these kinds of situations, stating “These
findings, in light of strong evidence of SMH service success in improving emotional, behavioral,
and educational outcomes of youth…highlight the importance of focusing quality improvement
efforts on mental health care in schools. (Connors).”
Highlighting the evolving need for mental health care for children and teens, a mental
health day suddenly doesn’t sound that bad. Parents are starting to understand the illness that are
undertaking their kids. A mom stated the following to the HuffPost UK about her son and mental
“My son is currently waiting for counselling for PTSD, he has night terrors which leave
him paralyzed, has mild depression and has recently started with auditory and visual
hallucinations. I do keep my son off school for the sake of his mental health, and
especially if he has an exacerbation of his symptoms. (Packham)
This showing an example of the use of a mental health day for a child. Though this is debated
against. When is it enough to take the child out of school? How long should they be out of
school? These seem to be questions that pop up. It also addresses in the article how parents may
lie and tell the school that the child is physically ill when that’s not the case. “If the school
doesn’t know what the problem is, they have no way of putting the right support in place and
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supporting the family to identify how and when the child can and should return to school.” Says
Emma Saddleton, parent helpline manager at Young Minds about that idea. Overall, pulling out
the child for issues with moods and mental health can benefit them for the better. Without
ruining their education but bettering it by addressing the problem at hand.
This is also doesn’t just apply to school age children. The mental health conversation
continues in the college setting as well. As the NIMH reports that 22.1% of people between the
ages of 18 and 25 suffer from mental health-related issues. This statement from an article from
Psychology Today assessing college student mental health states that “Studies suggest that
between a quarter and a third of students meet criteria for an anxiety or depressive illness during
their college experience.” (Henriques) With the stresses of things such as financial aid, classes,
organizations and more, the average college students sleeping and eating schedule is already
messy. Taking a day to reevaluate themselves and maybe even catch a quick nap may benefit
them more in the classroom. Because if there aren’t fully into the class, will they retain any
Overall, mental health may have gained a lot a progress, but it still has a lot to go. The
idea of mental health days off needs to be validated. Despite the various reports throughout this
essay and beyond, there is still a stigma around the subject in general. Parents are still lying,
students are email their professors they are sick when it’s the otherwise. But, with people like the
mental health advocate CEO and the parents leaving the children to decide, progress is
beginning. The lift of the stigma is coming and the numbers of people taking off the day to clear
the mind and becoming more mentally clear and healthy increases each day.
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Works Cited
@madalynrose,” When the CEO responds to your out of the office email about taking sick leave
for mental health and reaffirms your decision. � ” 30 June 2017, 1:29 pm,
Elizabeth H. Connors, Prerna Arora, Latisha Curtis, Sharon H. Stephan, “Evidence-Based
Assessment in School Mental Health” Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, vol. 22, no. 1,
2015, Pages 60-73, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpra.2014.03.008.
Gurchiek, Kathy. “Family Issues Top Reason for Taking 'Mental Health' Days.” SHRM, SHRM,
11 Apr. 2018, www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hrnews/Pages/takingmentalhealthdays.aspx.
Hernriques, Gregg. “The College Student Mental Health Crisis.” Psychology Today, Sussex
Publishers, 15 Feb. 2014, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/theoryknowledge/201402/the-college-student-mental-health-crisis.
Kobau, Rosemarie, and Matthew M. Zack. “Attitudes Toward Mental Illness in Adults by
Mental Illness–Related Factors and Chronic Disease Status: 2007 and 2009 Behavioral
Risk Factor Surveillance System.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 103, no. 11,
2013, pp. 2078–2089., doi:10.2105/ajph.2013.301321.
“Mental Illness.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.shtml.
Packham, Amy. “How To Know If Your Child Needs A Day Off School For Their Mental
Health.” HuffPost UK, HuffPost UK, 12 Jan. 2018,
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Professional, Pretty Young. “There's No Reason To Feel Guilty About Taking A Mental Health
Day.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 12 Apr. 2011, www.businessinsider.com/is-itmental-to-take-a-mental-health-day-2011-4.
Tangvald-Pedersen, Olav, and Rob Bongaardt. "The Interconnection between Mental Health,
Work and Belonging: A Phenomenological Investigation." Indo - Pacific Journal of
Phenomenology 17.2 (2017): 1-11. ProQuest. Web. 15 July 2018.
Essay should be carefully and correctly
formatted. Submission should be a Microsoft
Word .doc or .docx file, be double spaced,
used Times New Roman 12 pt. font, include a
correctly formatted header and page
numbers, and meet all other MLA and course
formatting requirements. Citations should be
carefully formatted. No repeat errors from
essays 1 or 2 should be present.
5 points allocated as follows:
 5 points – essay meets all
requirements in this category.
 3-4 points – essay meets most
requirements in this category. No
repeat errors are present.
 1-2 points – essay meets some
requirements in this category. Repeat
errors are not present.
 0 – essay does not meet formatting
requirements and/or repeat errors
are present.
5 points allocated as follows:
Essay should show evidence of careful editing 2
and contain few to no grammatical errors.
 5 points – essay meets all
Transitions between and within paragraphs
requirements in this category. Style is
should be smooth, and the progress of ideas
successful. No repeat errors are
should be well-organized and easy to follow.
Essay should be written in an appropriate
 2-4 points – essay meets most
academic tone and follow all course
requirements in this category. Repeat
requirements. No repeat errors should be
errors are not present.
 1-2 points – essay meets some
requirements in this category.
 0 points – essay is very poorly edited.
Essay should include a clear, persuasive
thesis statement that makes a direct claim.
All claims should be directly supported with
research. Essay should demonstrate strong
10 points allocated as follows:
 10 points – essay meets all
requirements in this category. Essay is
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use of persuasive strategies – essay should
anticipate counter arguments. No logical
fallacies or unsupported claims should be
present. Conclusion should be persuasive and
Essay is supported with highly credible,
appropriate research. All claims are
supported with research. All research should
be correctly cited and incorporated into the
text and should be academic in nature. At
least 8 sources should be present. Sources
should be diverse and appropriate.
very persuasive and research is
7-9 points – essay meets most
requirements in this category. Some
issues have been noted but they do
not impact the essay’s readability.
Essay is persuasive and research is
3-6 points – essay meets most
requirements in this category. Some
claims may be unsupported and/or
logical fallacies may be present. Some
issues noted may impact the essay’s
readability. Some sources may be
0-3 points – essay meets few
requirements in this category.
Significant revision needed and/or
sources are inappropriate/claims are
5 points allocated as follows:
 5 points – essay meets all
requirements in this category.
 3-4 points – essay meets most
requirements in this category.
Sources are credible and appropriate.
 1-2 points – essay meets some
requirements in this category.
Credibility issues may be present.
 0 – essay does not include
appropriate sources.
You’ve conducted some interesting and appropriate research here. Well done. However, your
essay is in need of a great deal of careful editing. Likewise, you have not correctly cited
your sources. Please review my comments and let me know if you have questions.
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