World Mental Health Day: Lack of paid sick leave can exacerbate workers’ mental health problem, finds study

World Mental Health Day: Lack of paid sick leave can exacerbate workers’ mental health problem, finds study

Millions of people working in private sector in the United States do not enjoy any paid sick leave. It is evident from the fact that only seven American states have paid sick-leave norms, while 15 others have passed laws forestalling any attempt of localities to allow provision of sick leave. The situation paints a grim picture and according to experts this trend can affect the mental health of an employee. To add to this, a recent study examined the association between mental distress and paid sick leave among American workers aged 18-64 years.

In the study, titled “Paid Sick Leave and Psychological Distress: An Analysis of U.S. Workers,” the researchers revealed the disastrous effects of worsening stress on those Americans who cannot avail paid sick leave and, therefore, are unable to take care of themselves or their loved ones for fear of losing employment or wages. The study was published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry in September 2017.

Elucidating the findings, lead author of the study Dr. Patricia Stoddard-Dare said, “For many Americans, daily life itself can be a source of stress as they struggle to manage numerous responsibilities including health related issues. Making matters worse, for those who lack paid sick leave, a day away from work can mean lost wages or even fear of losing one’s job. These stressors combined with other sources of stress have the potential to interfere with workplace performance and impact overall mental health.”

The research involved 17,897 respondents from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and assessed the level of mental trauma using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale. The findings indicated how those who availed paid sick leaves showed an alleviated mean distress level compared to those who showed high levels of emotional distress in the absence of paid leaves.

The study found that those who did not get paid sick leave exhibited an increasing level of psychological distress, to the extent that it would affect their normal way of working. Young, Hispanic, less educated and low-income populations were more vulnerable to distress. Roughly 40 percent of participants in the NHIS sample did not have paid sick leaves, nearly 50 percent were females and about 62 percent belonged to the non-Hispanic white category.

Mental health problem is a serious issue

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2016, nearly 45 million people (18 percent) aged 18 years or older suffered from any mental illness (AMI) in the U.S. The numbers serve as a warning to policymakers keen to curb the practice of granting paid sick leaves to workers. Notably, mental health problems may give way to other issues, including productivity loss.

Most people spend a major part of their day at workplaces. So the treatment meted out at workplace can have a major impact on one’s mental health. The World Health Organization (WHO) observes the “World Mental Health Day” on October 10 every year to raise awareness about common mental disorders that may impede productivity or the ability to cope with daily work. The theme for 2017 is “Mental health in the workplace.”

Seeking treatment for mental problems

One must not feel guilty of putting a mental health issue first. Those who have recovered from its throes must come forward to share their experiences. This will help lessen the burden of stigma, and inspire others to reveal their problems to their loved ones.

It takes a lot of determination and indomitable will to adhere to all the measures recommended by mental health experts. In case you or a loved one is grappling with a mental problem, contact Sovereign Health, a leading mental health care provider. Our mental health facilities in California with state-of-the-art treatment options can help those willing to undergo the recovery process. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online for more information about our mental health rehabilitation centers in California.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *