How to Ask Work for a Mental Health Day?

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No matter how much a person loves their job, they don’t wake up every day ready to conquer their To Do list at work. Those who may not work at their ideal job also have days where they just aren’t feeling it. In both cases, the person may need to take a mental health day. This allows them time to rest, regroup, or otherwise take care of themselves or tasks in their lives in order to keep positive mental health going. For someone who has not taken this step before, it can be an intimidating idea. If you want to know how to ask for a mental health day, we’ve got some ideas to help you out. 

What is a Mental Health Day?

A mental health day is a day off from work or other obligations used in order to take a needed break from daily stressors and work tasks. A person can feel a need for one when certain symptoms of poor mental health surface. This includes feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, and more. A mental health day is not an indulgence, but rather a genuine way for a person to take care of themselves. More and more companies recognize this and offer them as part of their benefits package. 

Sometimes a person can plan how to ask for a mental health day in advance, knowing it will come in handy a few days or weeks later. Other times, the need for one may become apparent the night before or the morning of a work day. The individual often just feels like they do not have the ability to focus or commit to work and needs to take a day off to recharge. 

Are They the Same as Sick Days?

Sick days are traditionally used for physical illnesses. Someone might have a cold, a stomach bug, a migraine, or something else that makes it too difficult to work that day. Mental health days are about tending to a person’s state of mind. Similar to how staying in bed and drinking fluids can help physical ailments, mental health days often include resting, doing something fun, or just hanging out at home or with loved ones. It’s really up to the individual how they spend their mental health day.


Mental health days may be seen as having one unproductive day, but in reality, they help a person become more productive. Someone feeling the drain of poor mental health or even just the stress of something like a family or personal crisis often cannot fully focus on their job. When they take a day off in order to handle an issue or rebalance themselves, they return to work in a better state of mind. In turn, this makes them better able to focus, be productive, and participate fully in their job.

Additionally, someone who takes care of their mental health can find it helps keep their physical health in order. A person loaded down with stress or depressed feelings often develops physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and mystery ailments. When they take mental health days, this can help improve part of their physical health.

When to Ask for a Mental Health Day

Not everyone will have the same reason to want to know how to ask for a mental health day. However, many common signs occur that can help someone identify the need for one. These signs include:

  • Feeling moody, sad, stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed
  • Physical symptoms tied to stressors related to work or personal life including body aches, headaches, indigestion, and more
  • Having trouble getting over an illness in a short amount of time because stress has weakened the immune system
  • Difficulty focusing at work 
  • Making mistakes or missing deadlines
  • Waking up with a feeling of dread about the workday because it all seems so overwhelming

Man needing a mental health day from work but wondering how to ask

How to Ask for a Mental Health Day

There are a few things to consider when mastering the art of how to ask for a mental health day. First, if your company does not offer mental health days, you may have to just call in and tell them you’re not feeling well. The fact that it’s your mental health that needs to be taken care of doesn’t have to be part of the conversation. “I’m feeling sick” can mean physical or mental symptoms. You can also use vacation time if you plan the mental health day in advance.

If you feel your boss is open to modern ideas of employee care, tell them you would like to take a mental health day. You can specify that you want to make sure you are on top of your game and have felt your productivity could be boosted by taking a day off to regroup. Phrasing it as a benefit for the company can help you get approval. 

If the person can plan a mental health day in advance, they should do so. Choose a day after something stressful ends, like a huge work project or a personal event. It gives the individual something to look forward to, knowing they will be able to take a day off when they know they will need it.

When to Seek Mental Health Treatment

If a mental health day here and there doesn’t provide a person with the help they need, it may be time to take a look at a longer-term approach. For many people, taking a break from work to address a mental illness can help them return to their job in an entirely new state of mind. A residential program can offer the respite needed to focus on healing and improving a person’s mental health. Receiving treatment that includes a variety of types of therapy helps people vastly improve symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and more

Contact Our Mental Health Treatment Center in Tucson, AZ

Nothing is more precious and important than a person’s health, and this includes their mental health. At Montare Behavioral Health of Tucson, we understand how to treat several types of mental illnesses in order to help reduce symptoms. Our residential treatment center provides multiple therapy modalities in a serene setting designed to help you focus on getting well. 

If you would like more information on how to ask for a mental health day or a break from work to address your mental health by staying with us, visit our admissions page now. We can give you ideas for how to give yourself a much-needed break.