Managing your mental health at work

We’ve all had days where we just couldn’t face the thought of getting out of bed and heading to school, uni or your part-time job. It happens to the best of us.

But, new figures have shown that cases of presenteeism – heading into work or education when you’re not feeling up to it – rose by 12.7 per cent from 2014-2018. This means people are turning up to work, despite feeling physically ill, or having a bad mental health day.

There’s still a stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace, and you may have found yourself going into work on a bad mental health day when you should have been at home taking care of yourself instead.

But, how do you speak to your employer, teacher or lecturer about your mental health, and how do you know when it’s time to slow down and take a day off?


If you go to work or college when you feel physically or mentally unwell, chances are you’re probably not being very productive – not to mention if you have a cold or a stomach bug, you could infect other people.

Instead, you could be using this time to rest, recuperate and focus on returning to work when you feel able.

Young people are among the most likely to take time off for mental health reasons. In fact, mental health charity Mind found that young people are more likely to use holidays instead of sick days when taking time off when experiencing poor mental health.

It was also found that money worries can cause this, with young people not wanting to miss out on wages, especially as being part of the group that is typically paid the least.


If you’re experiencing issues with your mental health, you’re under no obligation to tell your employer, especially if you’re concerned they won’t understand.

However, being open and honest about how you’re feeling – especially if work is contributing to any mental health issues – can be the first step on the road to recovery, and can be easier than you think.

If you have a colleague you get on well with, why not ask them to come with you to a meeting with your boss, so they can support you and you don’t have to go through it alone?

Clearly laying out how you’re feeling and the adjustments that you feel would support you in the workplace or at school can be all it takes to make a positive change – a change that can have a huge effect on your mental health.

For more support about how you can speak to your employer about your mental health, visit the Mind website, or Mental Health at Work.

How do you manage your mental health at work or school? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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