Feeling Guilty for Taking a Mental Health Day...

Updated on June 02, 2011
R.P. asks from Denver, CO
16 answers

I get ten paid sick days and one personal day a year at my job. I don't have any vacation time because the facility where I work is closed for holidays and the summer. My second grader has many school functions during the day which are difficult for me and my husband to attend. I took a personal day for the Christmas concert, and managed to have friends and family attend the other events. Last week I left work early to see an awards ceremony, but lost two hours of pay. My son has a violin concert and class party today. My husband will most likely attend, but I desperately want to be there too. I can't afford any additional unpaid time, and it is difficult for me to make up my hours by arriving early or staying late. I haven't missed a day of work in two years, except for my scheduled personal time. In other words, I have never called out sick. So today, I took a "mental health" day. However, I am making myself sick with guilt. Has anyone ever done this before? It's not like I am going to the beach or anything - I've been doing housework and getting ready to go to my son's school. Thanks for the advice!

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So What Happened?

The violin concert was amazing! I felt less guilty about taking a "mental health" day after reading everyone's responses. I am a hard worker - In fact, I received top scores in all areas of my review last week. Nobody asked me any questions the next day. Thanks for all the support!

Featured Answers


answers from Los Angeles on

YES, I've done it and I'll do it again. I'm an awesome employee and when I need time off, I take it. Don't feel guilty!!

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answers from Dallas on

Enjoy your day off with your child. They are only young once and if you calling in for a "mental health" day puts a smile on your childs face than so be it. He will remember this day and the guilt you feel for taking a day off will not even matter anymore and will vanish.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Rita, if this is the biggest batch of negative karma you've sent up to the corporate sky, then consider yourself the few, the proud and the elite! Have FUN!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You haven't missed a day of work in two years. How many of your coworkers can say such a thing?
Enjoy your day. Stop stressing over it or you may need a real "mental health" day to destress!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Rita, for you this IS a mental health day...you said "I desperately want to be there too." If you didn't go you'd beat yourself up about it. With the time difference between us I'm sure you're already there, and hope you have an enjoyable, relaxing day! : )

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Dont feel guilty. Your family has to come first. You took the day off to spend with your son. Go see his concert & enjoy. Work will still be there tomorrow. Every now and than we all need a break...even if you have to call in sick to work.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Let the guilt roll off your shoulders like rain. Two straight years?? You are due!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Enjoy yourself!! Everyone needs a day now and then - and I would assume that since you only get 1 personal day, and 10 sick days, does your boss actually think that you only want one day off for fun, and that you will be sick for 10 days a year?? ha ha I don't think so. I would imagine he knows it people do this. Think of it as a pat on the back for not missing a day for two years.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

It's common practice to use these days for whatever is needed. Unless you have a boss who is a stickler for being exact about their days off, I wouldn't worry about it! You earned it! You don't have to explain why you're taking the day off. You request it, granted and take it, period. Don't worry about it. Your guilt just shows you're a good and dedicated worker. Take your day off and enjoy it with your son! Like you said, you're not a slacker and don't blow off work.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Guilt is a "USELESS" emotion unless you have "SOMETHING" to feel guilty about. If you do a good job and take good care of your family, don't push your work off on someone else, TAKE a day off for YOU every now and then.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Think of it this way: Mental health is....part of your health.



answers from Seattle on

You are making yourself mentally sick by taking a mental health day silly.

Dont feel guilty it is up to you and your interpretation of "mental health day"
Whether that be a stay home and rest, or attend your child's concert today. It's important that you be there.

Relax and realize that its OK for you to take one day off for something important. Everyone has to take a day off sometime.

Enjoy yourself and stop making yourself feel so guilty for it all. Everything is going to be okay.

Take a deep breath and have fun today! I'm sure your son will be so happy to see you there.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Well I probably will get slammed but as an employer, I think it is irresponsible and leaves other people in the lurch. And it sounds like you are uncomfortable with it as well. The violin concert was scheduled in advance (I assume) so you could have scheduled the time off. If you don't use your sick time, how about (for next time) negotiating some sort of compromise with your boss - trade 10 paid sick days for vacation/personal days/flex time. Your boss may appreciate your honesty and I suspect your co-workers would appreciate knowing when someone will be off when it is possible to predict.



answers from Los Angeles on

you made the right choice, I would of done the same:)



answers from Philadelphia on

When I worked full time, we only got sick days and vacation time. Your sick days were not considered 'personal'. I was always the type to only call out if I was sick (and even felt bad when I did that) and then I found out that other coworkers didn't just call out when They were sick. So I took personal days too, but said I was sick. Boy did I feel awful about that. I know how you feel! The worst was when someone would ask me how I was feeling the next day.... Ugh! You're not alone in your guilt. My sister on the other hand, takes mental health days alot. She works hard and doesn't feel bad about it at all.


answers from St. Louis on

Heck just last Friday I said enough and went home after three hours work. Sometimes you just need me time.

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