mental healthWork skills

There is no shame in requesting a mental health day. 

Our hearts and minds can only do so much before they need a break. Asking for a day off should be no different from breaking a leg, but we can feel guilty. 

Here are some tips for you on how to ask for a mental health day.

1.Don’t tell them more than they have to.

  • You are not obliged to talk to your boss about your personal life.
  • If you don’t want to explain why you need the day, don’t explain.

2.Keep your message short, simple and direct.

  • You don’t have to justify your request with a story. 
  • Just say “I need a mental health day: do you mind if I take tomorrow off?
  • Explain you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious and believe taking a day off would help you recharge and improve your performance.
  • Your boss will appreciate the honesty.
  • Direct communication is always better and stops confusion.

3.Tell your boss as soon as you can.

  • Your boss will get time to manage the situation at work.
  • You can prepare if someone needs to do your job.
  • It reduces the stress of asking for a mental health day by getting it out of the way.

4.Plan what you are going to say in advance.

It helps you prepare for all scenarios;

1st-Write out why you need a mental health day. 

  • List your reasons why you need a mental health day.
  • Write the list out on your phone or paper.
  • Keep your list with you as a reminder to stand your ground.
  • Make your boundaries clear. 

2nd Practise what you are going to say

Practice gives you confidence about what you will say.

3rd, Think of possible reactions and have your reply 

  • Your boss may be great, but you may catch them on an off day.
  • Prepare
  • When you go into the meeting knowing what you need to communicate. 


5.Be Flexible

 Your boss may be unable to grant your request for a mental health day immediately or may need to discuss it with other team members. Be open to compromise and discuss alternative solutions, such as working from home or taking a shorter break.

What if you can’t take a mental health day? 

You may need a day off but can’t take it because 

*You may have used up your sick days, or

*You’ll be fired or

*You are on a Zero hours contract and need the money. 

Try this instead, 

  • Create smaller spaces in your day.

*After work, take an hour off to do something for you.

*Phone a friend and talk about good memories.

*Go to a movie, read a book or watch a sports game to give yourself a mental breather.

*Buy yourself treat food and eat the lot without sharing it. 

*Turn your phone off. Take a break from negativity and pressure.  Social media is fun, but it’s a negative distraction when you feel fragile. 

*Avoid the news for a short time. A lot of people avoided the news during Covid. It helped their mental health. If something significant happens, your friends will tell you. 

Remember, your mental health is essential for your well-being and overall productivity. By approaching the conversation professionally and honestly, you can help your boss understand your needs and work together, looking for a solution that benefits everyone.


Resolve Legal Ltd blogs contain only general information about legal matters. It is not intended to be legal advice and should not be treated as, or relied on, as such. For legal advice specific to your facts, please get in touch with a lawyer appropriate to your legal issue.

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