Blog: Sick Leave

Its been a tricky week, I was ill over the bank holiday and has really wiped me out.  I’m finally feel more human again, just in time for me to begin my 10 day road trip in North West England. 

I had plenty of time to think whilst unwell, and also unable to do much else. People get ill, they take time off work, hopefully they recover (quickly) and they return to work. It’s a thing that happens in a place of work.

Luckily I’d not had any time off sick for over two years, but this did get me to thinking about the process of being off sick – and how we approach it.  For example, with someone could be off on long term sick, with say a broken arm or for surgery or other treatment. This would mean they are off sick for quite along time. In those circumstances we might send a get well soon card or gift to that individual.  It is a process I’ve seen countless times in my 15 years as a civil servant.  We share our goodwill and best wishes to those who are off sick.  It is a great thing… but we only seem to focus on this when it is a physical condition.

Would we send a get well soon card or gift for someone that is off sick with a mental ill health? 

Its just as valid to be off sick with a mental ill health condition. I struggle to recall over the last 15 years more than a handful of times where a get well soon card has been sent for a colleague off sick with mental ill health.  I have certainly sent a couple, so including myself in this question – why do we not do it at the same level?

It is certainly a question I am asking myself and how I may choose to act in future too.  We are trying to break the stigma around mental ill health, this seems to be another barrier we need to consider.

Mental and Physical health are together as one, it is our overall health.  If there is an issue in one part, usually the whole can be impacted.  Mental ill health can lead to physical symptoms too.

Being ill this week, and not being able to do much during this time certainly got my thinking about this – I’ll be considering it more in future

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