What if I am mentally ill

Sick leave due to psychological stress?

"I cannot believe that this is not standard everywhere"

As so often, it all started with a tweet: Web developer Madalyn Parker from the USA shares an email history with the CEO of her company on Twitter. In an email to her colleagues and the CEO, she explained that she was taking the rest of the week off, to focus on your mental health and to be back next week refreshed. Her CEO responded personally to thank her for her honesty and how she kept reminding him that it is also important to take sick leave for your mental health. In doing so, she would not only be an example to others, but would also help fight the stigma against mental illness.

When the CEO responds to your out of the office email about taking sick leave for mental health and reaffirms your decision. pic.twitter.com/6BvJVCJJFq

? madalyn (@madalynrose) June 30, 2017

Sick leave due to psychological stress - How long in Germany?

In Germany, too, absenteeism due to mental illness is not uncommon. In your Absenteeism report from 2016 the health insurance company AOK has determined that every tenth day absent (10.5 percent) goes back to it. On average, there were no members of the health insurance company 2.8 days a year because of psychological stress.

Should you because of a mental illness on sick leave this is of course not cured after a few days. Many people are directly worried about their job when they have such an illness. As an employee, however, you can up to six weeks a year be on sick leave without the immediate threat of dismissal. In this case you are also not obliged to provide the real reason for your sick leave, only if the illness is due operational reasons was caused. Will you as long-term ill classified, you are according to the German labor law For a year and a half through the Sick pay and your Sick pay secured.

Psychological stress in companies

As reported by the taz, this is also a problem at Amazon, for example. The employees are exposed to monotonous work for hours and an above-average number of employees suffer from mental illnesses. However, Amazon does nothing about it - it only distributes health premiums so that people can keep coming to work. For many companies, however, this is different and they have recognized that it is important to help affected employees to change framework conditions if necessary and find solutions. "Many companies now offer corporate health management and in this context also a psychological counseling hotline," explains Dr. Petra Bernatzeder, managing partner of upgrade human resources GmbH. For applicantswho pay attention to the correct handling of mental health, Such offers can be good indicators be, says the graduate psychologist.

Prevention instead of damage limitation - the help

"There are now many managers who are trained to do so Signals of overload Can be detected. The aim is to talk to affected employees and with that Breaking down barriers, accepting professional help. ", says Dr. Bernatzeder. The same applies to mental problems as to physical ones: if the absence lasts longer than three days, the employee needs one Sick leave from a doctor. "This is with every illness without substantive justification submitted to the employer. Under labor law, it is not possible to inquire about the exact reason for the sick leave. "This ensures that additional stigmatization due to mental problems cannot happen." Because this is an issue of course still a taboo for many companies."says Dr. Bernatzeder.

A complete rethink is what many companies and people need. "I think it's important to have one Prevention mentality arises. It's like going to the dentist. In the past you only went there when you were in pain, today you go there regularly as a preventive measure. It is the same with the psyche. We have many stress factors and unfortunately there is still no school subject in which stress management and mental health are dealt with, "explains Dr. Bernatzeder." We need a kind of 'handicraft kit' with which we can lower the acute stress level and reduce permanent stress. If we don't have it, we end up on 'hamster wheels' and this often results in excessive demands and mental illness. My concern is to pave the way for people to learn how to deal with stress differently. To do this, however, you have to make paying attention to yourself a special priority. "


Dr. Petra Bernatzeder compiled in her book "Success Factor Wellbeing in the Workplace".

Dr. Petra Bernatzeder

Springer Verlag, will be published in September 2017

Price: € 29.99

Order online (Amazon): Well-being as a success factor