The Skinny on Stress Leave
|Posted: January 18, 2015 by: Claire Sutton|
Stress-leave is a catch-all term for a medical leave due to a mental health issue such as depression, anxiety, anger. Such a medical leave requires a note from the employee’s physician stating that the employee is not mentally fit to be working at this time. This is a legitimate disability.
As a specialist in human behaviour in the workplace, I consult with many organizations around employee issues. In my private practice, I see many employees at various stages of stressful situations. My goal is to help them deal with their issues so that they can get back to work and to life fully functioning.
Today, employees are knowledge workers. When stress mounts, it impacts an individual emotionally, mentally, in relationships etc.
Accessing professional help early on is preventative. The troubled employee learns to deal with the situation without losing any (or at least not much) productivity at work.
If on medical leave, counselling at the onset of the leave helps the employee to heal properly from their time off of work; and pursue their goal to get back to work in a way that promotes a successful outcome. Too often, I see clients come in for help toward the end of their medical leave because they are anxious about returning to a situation that may have contributed to their disability.
A successful return to work is most effective when it is a gradual return and when the employee is monitored by both the physician and the counsellor from the onset of the leave. In some situations, appropriate consent may be required for the clinical counsellor to speak to the employer such as an HR manager or to the disability manager to ensure a successful outcome for the employee.