People are taking days off to deal with their mental health – what you can do to reduce stress and anxiety in your life

THE average American says they need a week’s worth of mental health days to be productive at work.

A new study surveying 2,000 adults on workplace practices found that seven in 10 respondents believe that employers should offer mental health days in addition to sick time or PTO (70 percent).

More than three-quarters of Americans said having mental health days and more convenient, affordable access to mental health services or virtual care would help them be more productive in their jobs (78 percent). Another 64 percent say they’d be more inclined to work for a company that offers those benefits.

Employed respondents, on average, have taken four mental health days within the past year to help them recuperate, with 38 percent admitting they’ve taken more than this. And 72 percent plan on taking one before the end of the year.

Those who have previously taken mental health days outlined how they spent their time, citing exercising to keep their energy up (44 percent), sleeping in/relaxing to recharge (42 percent), or watching TV to unwind (43 percent).

Results showed that most respondents admitted they don’t always prioritize their own mental health needs (83 percent).

Only 30 percent of respondents described their mental health as “excellent,” while a quarter says theirs is “average” or “poor.”

Similarly, nearly half of Americans said they struggle with their mental health “always” or “often” (49 percent).

Conducted by OnePoll in partnership with 98point6, the survey found that while most confessed that they’ve been in denial about needing help with their mental health (59 percent), two in three want to break that barrier and open up, but expressed they don’t know who to talk to.

On average, people feel something’s weighing on them three times a week, which explains why 62 percent believe everyone can benefit from therapy.

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"While the pandemic has certainly been a root cause behind the rise in mental health challenges, it's also changed the public perception around seeking and receiving mental health treatment,” said Dr. Mara Kailin, 98point6’s senior director of behavioral health.

“In the past, many mental health needs went unaddressed, but now we're finally starting to see the stigma around receiving therapy and other mental health services dissipate.

“People know they need help, and now with virtual platforms, care is more convenient and accessible.

"This affords people the opportunity to receive quality treatment on their terms, helping them to be happier at home and more productive at work."

Half of the respondents shared they notice a change in their physical health when struggling with their mental health.

Fifty-five percent also said they’d be more likely to seek mental health care if a primary care doctor recommended it to them. And 68% are more comfortable seeking mental health services nowadays than they did a few years ago.

Nearly half of respondents have received therapy (47 percent), and those who have are twice as likely to describe their mental health as “excellent” (43 percent vs. 21 percent).

Two-thirds received some form of healthcare via a telehealth service, citing the quality of care they got as “excellent” or “good” (87 percent), and a similar percentage said they’ve become more comfortable with talking about their health concerns as a result (86 percent).

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"Taking the first step toward achieving better mental health can often be the hardest, but delaying care can lead to negative health outcomes and higher costs down the road," said Kailin.

"Integrated, virtual care makes taking that first step easier. Once patients get over the hump of seeking care, they can get all of their needs met in one place, leading to better quality of life overall."

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