What to Say When Calling in Sick with Depression

Depression is a common mental health condition affecting many people. It can be challenging to manage and can affect a person’s productivity and attendance at work. When you are experiencing a depressive episode, it is essential to take care of yourself and prioritize your mental health. This may involve taking a day off work to focus on your well-being.

Calling in sick with depression can be challenging. You might feel guilty or ashamed of taking time off work due to your mental health. However, it is essential to remember that your health is your priority. Taking time off work to care for your mental health is just as important as taking time off for physical health reasons.

When to Call in Sick

It can be challenging to know when to call in sick when you are experiencing depression. You might worry that you are not sick enough or that people will judge you for not being able to come to work. However, it is crucial to listen to your body and your mental health needs. If you are having trouble sleeping, feeling overwhelmed or anxious, experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach problems, or finding it challenging to concentrate or complete work tasks, it may be time to take a day off.

It is also essential to consider the impact of your illness on your colleagues and the organization. If your depression is affecting your ability to complete work tasks, it may be better to take a day off rather than risk making errors or spreading negative energy to your colleagues.

How to Call in Sick

Calling in sick with depression can be challenging, but it is essential to approach the conversation with your employer or HR manager honestly and clearly. Here are some steps to follow when calling in sick with depression:

  1. Prepare: Before making the call, take some time to prepare what you are going to say. Consider what information you want to share about your mental health condition and what you need from your employer.
  2. Be Honest: It is crucial to be honest about your condition and the impact on your ability to work. Explain that you are experiencing a depressive episode and that it is affecting your ability to work effectively or safely.
  3. Communicate Your Expected Time Off: Let your employer know how long you expect to be off work. This may involve a few days, a week, or more, depending on your work and mental health needs.
  4. Ask for Accommodation: If you require an accommodation, such as a reduced workload or a temporary shift in job tasks, it is essential to communicate this to your employer.
  5. Be Thankful and Professional: Even though it can be difficult to make the call, approach the conversation with gratitude and professionalism. Thank your employer for their understanding and explain that you look forward to returning to work when you are feeling better.

Sample Script for Calling in Sick

Here is an example script you can use when calling in sick with depression:

“Hello (Supervisor/HR Manager), I wanted to let you know that I won’t be able to come into work today. I am experiencing a depressive episode and am finding it challenging to concentrate and complete work tasks effectively. I anticipate needing the day off to focus on my mental health. I plan to be back to work tomorrow or when I am feeling better. Thank you for your understanding, and I look forward to returning to work soon.”

Managing Your Return to Work

When you are ready to return to work after taking time off for depression, it is essential to have a plan in place to manage your transition effectively. Here are some tips for returning to work after experiencing depression:

  1. Talk to your employer or HR Manager: Let your employer know how you are feeling and if you require any accommodations to manage your depression while at work. This may include a reduced workload or a temporary shift in job tasks.
  2. Take It Slow: It’s okay to take it slow when returning to work after taking time off for depression. Give yourself time to adjust and don’t try to do too much too quickly.
  3. Build A Support System: It can be helpful to build a support system of family, friends, or colleagues who understand your mental health condition and can support you through your return to work.
  4. Practice Self-Care: Continue to prioritize your mental health and practice self-care activities such as exercise, mindfulness, and therapy to help manage your depression while at work.

Conclusion

Depression is a common mental health condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s productivity and attendance at work. It is essential to prioritize your mental health and take time off work when necessary to manage your condition effectively. When calling in sick with depression, be honest and clear with your employer or HR manager about your condition and what you need from them. Remember to take it slow when returning to work and prioritize your mental health through self-care activities and building a support system.

FAQs

What is depression?

Depression is a mental disorder characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed. It can also cause physical symptoms such as changes in appetite, sleep patterns, and energy levels.

Can I take time off work for depression?

Yes, it is important to take time off work if you are struggling with depression. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and taking time to focus on recovery can help manage symptoms and improve overall well-being.

How should I communicate with my employer about my depression?

It is important to be open and honest with your employer about your struggles with depression. You can start by explaining your situation, expressing your need for time off, and discussing potential accommodations that may help you manage your symptoms. Remember, your employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations for mental health conditions under the ADA.


References

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2. Gedge, L., Price, J., & Walker, J. R. (2015). Coping strategies and illness perceptions as predictors of adherence in depression. Psychiatry Research, 225(3), 684-689. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2014.12.001)

3. Greenberg, P. E., Fournier, A. A., Sisitsky, T., Pike, C. T., & Kessler, R. C. (2015). The economic burden of adults with major depressive disorder in the United States (2005 and 2010). Journal of clinical psychiatry, 76(2), 155-162. (https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.14m09298)