Mental Health Leave – How Long Should You Take?
Mental health leave is a crucial time to pause and focus on your well-being. It’s a time to get more rest, make radical changes and take the time you need to recover.
But figuring out what to do next can be daunting. Here are some questions to ask yourself and your employer to make the best decision for you.
How long does it take to recover?
If you’re facing a mental health crisis, it’s not uncommon to want to take some time away from work. This can be a very difficult decision to make, but it’s often helpful for long-term recovery.
It also may allow you to focus on your physical and emotional needs. You may find that it’s beneficial to spend more time with family, exercise, or eat better.
You can also use your leave to get some professional help and support. Whether it’s with a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, connecting with a mental health professional can be very helpful in addressing your symptoms and developing an effective treatment plan.
Once you’ve made a mental health decision, it’s important to take steps to ensure that it’s as easy and efficient as possible for you to return to work. This includes figuring out how much time you need off, negotiating your leave with your employer, and getting the right documentation in place.
How long does it take to get back to work?
There are many reasons why an employee might need to take mental health leave. Whether it is for stress, depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric issues, the length of the leave can range from a few days to a few months.
One thing to keep in mind when deciding how long to take off is that a good portion of your time will be spent recovering and getting back into the swing of things. If you’ve taken a substantial amount of mental health leave, it may be helpful to slow down your return to work by starting with half-days and working up to a full day.
You should also try to maintain contact with your therapist and/or counselor throughout your mental health leave, as they’ll be best able to assess your progress and help you stay on track during recovery. Likewise, it’s crucial that you keep up with your employer’s sick, paid, and FMLA policies while on leave to ensure you get the right amount of time off to recover from a mental health issue.
How long does it take to reintegrate?
Once you’ve taken leave for mental health, it can take some time to reintegrate back into your social circle and work life. The right treatment program will prepare you for the transition and enable you to make gradual changes to your lifestyle.
A good support network is key to getting through the reintegration process. Charities such as Mind, Rethink and SANE offer a range of services that can help you through the whole journey.
It’s also a good idea to speak to your employer about how best to support you. They should have an employee assistance program or other resources in place to ensure you’re able to continue working.
It’s also a good idea to keep in contact with your doctor or therapist to make sure you’re still on track. Talking to them will help you set realistic goals for yourself, and they may also be able to give you advice on what type of work is suitable for you.
How long does it take to feel like yourself again?
During mental health leave, it can take a while for your body and mind to recover. Taking time off work can help you relax, get plenty of sleep, and focus on your wellbeing.
When you return to work, try your best to stay away from any stressors that may be impacting your mental health. It’s also a good idea to make sure you continue your medical treatment plan.
For example, if you’re on medication for depression, make sure to continue with therapy. A therapist can teach you new skills to cope with your symptoms in the moment, which can prevent them from getting worse once you’re back to work.
Once you’ve been on leave for a while, it can be a good idea to reconnect with your old interests and hobbies. Whether it’s cooking, making art, journaling, or even fixing up your car, putting your energy into things that made you happy can make you feel more like yourself again.