Are Mental Health Days Just a Band-Aid Solution for Burnout?
Jonathan Malesic, in Mental Health Days Are Only a Band-Aid Solution for Burnout, wrote the book on burnout — literally. (I recommend his painstakingly researched The End of Burnout above any other on the topic.)
I agree with what Malesic writes in the article, including this under-appreciated observation:
"[Mental Health days] might not reduce someone’s workload, if they have to overburden themselves catching up after—or before—their rest."
I agree, also, that mental health days are a simplistic response to employee mental health challenges.
But, ultimately, I'd like to see organizational/societal strategies put forward more persuasively and independently, rather than elevating them only by denigrating the Band-Aid solutions employers (and, sometimes, employees) favor.
Band-Aid solutions aren't displacing effective strategies. Employers just prefer trendy solutions that don't require much of them.
But, to do anything meaningful, we have to figure out how to get employers to genuinely care about mental health. Employers can suss out our specious claims of ROI.
Saying that mental health is a business strategy — the battle cry of many thought leaders and psych scholars — doesn't make it so. Wellbeing isn't just investment, it's a public health imperative.
[Hat-tip to Fred Schott who brought Malesic's article to my attention on LinkedIn)