Originally published on Forbes.com on October 5, 2017.

The mental health of your employees is key to their productivity at work. Taking a mental health day to refocus and regroup may be more beneficial than companies realize, and it has prompted several organizations to begin offering it as an added benefit to workers.

According to a report by the National Business Group on Health, mental illness and substance abuse disorders cost employers an estimated $17 billion each year, in addition to 217 million days of lost work. These numbers show the rising issue of mental health among employees and may be reason enough for companies to offer mental health days to employees that need them.

Fourteen members of Forbes Coaches Council discuss several ways mental health days benefit employees and companies or possibly hinder their activity, as some critics suggest the practice can increase the stigma surrounding mental illness, leading to a deeper sense of alienation and ultimately, poor performance. Here is what they had to say:

1. Creating A Strategic Benefit

We are not wired 24/7. Companies that offer mental health days are thinking strategically about their employees and the value they bring to the organization. In a world that moves at an unprecedented speed and intensity, offering personal days not only benefits employees, giving them opportunities to recharge, it also benefits the organization, potentially minimizing costly mistakes and accidents. – Susan TaylorGeneron International

2. Helping Employees Thrive And Be More Productive

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington highlights the power of resting our bodies (and minds) and the competitive advantage more companies would have if their employees were well-rested. Companies that provide napping pods, mental health days, yoga, meditation and the like will be rewarded with more productive employees with higher mental acuity. Increased employee retention is also likely. – Eddie TurnerEddie Turner LLC

3. Prioritizing People

Employees are our true stakeholders and we must prioritize them however possible within our organizations. Mental health days are just as important as sick days, vacation, or any other form of paid time off. If it is important for employees to regularly contribute high-impact, high-quality work, it is equally essential they have flexible, paid time to contribute to their whole health and wellness. – Tonyalynne WildhaberThe Courage Practice

4. Hindering Companies And Employees

I think mental days off would hinder companies and employees. The brain operates based on the information it receives, so if someone wakes up and says “I’m not feeling my best,” the brain takes that information and the body reacts to it. Taking a day off isn’t a tool that would help. Companies would be better off providing meditation rooms, yoga classes, and other wellness programs empowering mental wellness. – MaryAnne GillespieRed Apple Coaching

5. Improving Workplace Culture

We have all needed a mental health day, taken one or wished our co-worker had one. Wellness days recognize that we just need to press the pause button on the remote control of our lives. Otherwise, our inside voice will be wishing for the rewind, pause and fast-forward button during conversations. Compensation packages that include these days provide the foundation of wellness for engaging workplace cultures. – Gayle DraperIntentional Careers and Human Resources

6. Allowing Staff To Focus On Outcomes

Unless a company is managing children, I don’t see the value of controlling when they work or don’t work. Especially exempt are employees not paid by the hour. If someone meets their objectives and deliverables and even contributes above and beyond, why should I care how many or what hours they work? Let project teams work out their norms, but at the end of the day, focus on outcomes, not time spent. – Bill GardnerNoetic Outcomes Consulting, LLC

7. Improving Creativity

In a world where innovation and doing things differently genuinely matters, mental health is not just nice, it’s necessary. It’s well documented that stress inhibits the creative process — humans in fight or flight aren’t thinking about new ways of doing things, they’re just trying to reduce the pain of stress and overwhelm. Mental health is essential for the creative class to stay creative. – David Butlein, Ph.D.BLUECASE Strategic Partners

8. Giving Employees Time For Personal Care

More and more pressure is on employees to perform at top levels all the time. It’s impossible. Workers should be allowed to flex and flow according to the iterations of their minds and bodies. There must be structure within this, of course, and time off doesn’t need to be labeled “mental” or “sick” or “PTO,” it just needs to be time to accomplish the personal care (self/family/other) we all need. – Kelly MeerbottYou: Loud & Clear

9. Helping To Remove The Stigma

Why can’t a mental health day be fun or positive? Why is it just OK to take a physical health day? Well, we live in our minds just as much as we live in our bodies. Celebrate this and call it a “brain break” or something. Remove any and all stigmas. Colleges have mental health advocates and availability in some dorms now. It’s OK. Let’s embrace these breaks and these days. – John M. O’ConnorCareer Pro Inc.

10. Impacting Profit And Leveraging Reciprocity

Creating a culture of care that moves away from the misperception that work and personal life are separate while building on trust and the power of positive relationships showcases a “giving” style that has great impact on profit as well as leveraging reciprocity. I would extend mental health days to the entire workforce as recognition of the importance of mental health. – Valerio PascottoIGEOS

11. Creating A Trusting Relationship

My employees have come to work and then said, “I can’t concentrate, can I leave?” and I myself have done it too. It creates a trusting relationship — they don’t feel they have to lie to me and claim they have some place to be. As long as they aren’t taking advantage of it, I’d prefer it this way, and if I felt like they were, I’d just talk to them about it. – Catherine Mattice ZundelCivility Partners

12. Encouraging Paid Time Off

Categorizing paid time off may be the single largest contributor in the erosion of employer and employee trust. How many days is up to the employer. How to use them is up to the employee. For decades, many countries in Europe have been using mandatory holiday time for their workforce as a necessary component of an employee’s overall health and ability to perform their job at optimum efficiency. – Kevin LeonardEmerald Bay Performance

13. Allowing Employees To Unplug Guilt-Free

We don’t consider our mental health a part of our physical health. However, as our workplaces shift and the virtual work world continues to expand, we are constantly on the go and glued to our devices. Mental health days give employees an opportunity to unplug guilt- and stigma-free, which ultimately allows them to be more productive when they return to work — an attractive benefit to offer. – Valerie MartinelliValerie Martinelli Consulting, LLC

14. Offering An Excuse Not To Do The Work

I don’t think employees need a mental health day. That sounds too formal. It also sounds to me like a sickness. Instead, at our company when our employees need a day off, they just say, “Hey boss, I’m worn out and gonna take the day off.” I never once have said no. Without “mental health” as the reason, I agree we need time off to clear our heads occasionally. – Ryan StewmanHardcore Closer LLC

Justin Follin
Justin Follin is a founding partner and CEO at BLUECASE Strategic Partners. He is a CEO coach and organizational consultant with primary expertise in the areas of visionary leadership development, cross-functional strategic leadership, solving complex adaptive challenges and innovation. He is the primary designer of the BLUECASE Leadership Development Process for fast-scaling, mid-market companies and M&A environments. He has led hundreds of Executives, Directors, and Managers through cross-functional leadership development and has coached public and private CEOs, business leaders, TEDx presenters, academic professors, musicians, and athletes to perform at optimal levels. He has also designed or executed leadership development and consulting approaches delivered inside some of the world’s largest oil and gas, construction, and mining companies.
Co-Founder
Contact Justin:
Justin Follin
Justin Follin is a founding partner and CEO at BLUECASE Strategic Partners. He is a CEO coach and organizational consultant with primary expertise in the areas of visionary leadership development, cross-functional strategic leadership, solving complex adaptive challenges and innovation. He is the primary designer of the BLUECASE Leadership Development Process for fast-scaling, mid-market companies and M&A environments. He has led hundreds of Executives, Directors, and Managers through cross-functional leadership development and has coached public and private CEOs, business leaders, TEDx presenters, academic professors, musicians, and athletes to perform at optimal levels. He has also designed or executed leadership development and consulting approaches delivered inside some of the world’s largest oil and gas, construction, and mining companies.
Co-Founder
Contact Justin:
Christine Trevino
Christine Trevino is Chief Operating Officer and efficiency extraordinaire at BLUECASE Strategic Partners. She has a strong commitment to ensuring our processes create an exceptional experience for our clients and our internal team. After spending nearly a decade within one of the nation’s largest health systems, Christine knows the foundational infrastructure necessary for operational efficiency, conflict management, resolution strategies and creating connections to truly understand what is wanted and needed and how to best accomplish it, whether supporting the business or supporting people. Christine has served in other mission focused organizations, like Texas Exes (Hook Em’) and Whole Foods Market where she had the opportunity to be a servant leader and contribute to making an impact in the lives of others as she also does through our work at BLUECASE. Christine is married to her high school sweetheart and they have five children. She enjoys the outdoors, photography and volunteering in various organizations.
Chief Operating Officer
Contact Christine:
David B. Greenspan
David Greenspan, Ph.D., is the Founder of BLUECASE Strategic Partners. He has a PH.D. in High-Performance Psychology with expertise in why certain individuals and teams perform at exceptional levels, even in suboptimal circumstances. BLUECASE facilitates strategic planning and teaches managers and executives at fast-growing companies how to create seamless cross-functional collaboration, feedback-rich cultures, and high levels of engagement. An expert in creating high-performance corporate cultures and teams, David is an energizing leader, coach, and facilitator known for his capacity to galvanize groups to generate breakthrough results. David has over fifteen years of experience working with senior executives at Fortune 100 companies and executive teams of fast-growing PE-backed companies with between $50 Million and $2 Billion in annual revenue. Notable clients include ESO, Vida Capital, Intersys, Four Hands, AffiniPay, Logix, University of Texas, Maidbot, Bypass Mobile, Austin Fitness Group/Orange Theory Fitness, Kerbey Lane Cafe, ShippingEasy, Triangle Services, Allegiance Mobile Health, and YPO.
Founder
Contact David:
David B. Greenspan
David Greenspan, Ph.D., is the Founder of BLUECASE Strategic Partners. He has a PH.D. in High-Performance Psychology with expertise in why certain individuals and teams perform at exceptional levels, even in suboptimal circumstances. BLUECASE facilitates strategic planning and teaches managers and executives at fast-growing companies how to create seamless cross-functional collaboration, feedback-rich cultures, and high levels of engagement. An expert in creating high-performance corporate cultures and teams, David is an energizing leader, coach, and facilitator known for his capacity to galvanize groups to generate breakthrough results. David has over fifteen years of experience working with senior executives at Fortune 100 companies and executive teams of fast-growing PE-backed companies with between $50 Million and $2 Billion in annual revenue. Notable clients include ESO, Vida Capital, Intersys, Four Hands, AffiniPay, Logix, University of Texas, Maidbot, Bypass Mobile, Austin Fitness Group/Orange Theory Fitness, Kerbey Lane Cafe, ShippingEasy, Triangle Services, Allegiance Mobile Health, and YPO.
Founder
Contact David:
Christel Frietsch
Christel Frietsch is the Operations Administrator at BLUECASE Strategic Partners. She has 30 years of administrative experience with expertise in scheduling, correspondence, logistics and project coordination. Prior to joining the BLUECASE team, she was the Director of Operations for an Austin based CPG healthy lifestyle company, an Executive Administrator for a land use consulting firm, and an Executive Assistant to the CEO of an international disease prevention and wellness company. Originally from Austin, TX, Christel graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry, and completed her minor study in Psychology. She is an IIN Certified Integrative Holistic Health Coach and an IPHM Certified Energy Healer. Christel currently lives in New Braunfels, TX with her partner and two rescued dogs. She enjoys spending time in nature, gardening and reading.
CEO
Contact Christel:
Lori Darley
Lori brings nearly two decades of experience as a transformational coach and consultant and has worked extensively with leaders and C-suite executives in many industries. She coaches organizations from multi-national corporations, such as Ferro Chemical, a global cosmetics firm and a Fortune 500 “Class One” rail transportation company. She has also worked with a wide variety of entrepreneurial ventures and individuals in non-profits, manufacturing, financial services, management consulting, commercial real estate and the arts. Lori is a certified somatic coach, recognized by the Strozzi Institute, and a certified Peak Potentials trainer. Additional certifications include Ken Blanchard’s Situational Leadership, Gallup Strengths-Finder, the Myers/Briggs Personality Assessment and the EQi-2 (an Emotional Intelligence assessment and 360 feedback model).
Senior Consultant
Contact Lori:
Lori Darley
Lori brings nearly two decades of experience as a transformational coach and consultant and has worked extensively with leaders and C-suite executives in many industries. She coaches organizations from multi-national corporations, such as Ferro Chemical, a global cosmetics firm and a Fortune 500 “Class One” rail transportation company. She has also worked with a wide variety of entrepreneurial ventures and individuals in non-profits, manufacturing, financial services, management consulting, commercial real estate and the arts. Lori is a certified somatic coach, recognized by the Strozzi Institute, and a certified Peak Potentials trainer. Additional certifications include Ken Blanchard’s Situational Leadership, Gallup Strengths-Finder, the Myers/Briggs Personality Assessment and the EQi-2 (an Emotional Intelligence assessment and 360 feedback model).
Senior Consultant
Contact Lori:
Robin Knudsen
Robin combines 20 years of international corporate experience with that of leadership development to bring insight into creating diverse and inclusive cultures and improving how teams function. As a coach and facilitator, Robin has worked with a broad range of companies across industries from Fortune 100’s through to entrepreneurs and SME’s. Robin holds a BA from The University of Texas at Austin and a Masters in Organization Development from St. Edward’s University. She is a certified executive coach, trained in NLP, HeartMath, and Reiki.
Senior Consultant
Contact Robin:
Robin Knudsen
Robin combines 20 years of international corporate experience with that of leadership development to bring insight into creating diverse and inclusive cultures and improving how teams function. As a coach and facilitator, Robin has worked with a broad range of companies across industries from Fortune 100’s through to entrepreneurs and SME’s. Robin holds a BA from The University of Texas at Austin and a Masters in Organization Development from St. Edward’s University. She is a certified executive coach, trained in NLP, HeartMath, and Reiki.
Senior Consultant
Contact Robin:
Shawn Clark
Shawn Clark is a certified Executive Coach who brings extensive hands-on leadership experience to every coaching session. His business background includes senior leadership roles for mission-critical teams and initiatives with global Fortune 500 companies and U.S. Government agencies. Shawn delivers powerful, effective and efficient coaching experiences which enables his clients to achieve results that were previously unattainable. Shawn strives to ensure the coaching journey is a fulfilling and enjoyable experience loaded with exploration, discovery, creativity, growth and achievement.
Senior Consultant
Contact Shawn:
Shawn Clark
Shawn Clark is a certified Executive Coach who brings extensive hands-on leadership experience to every coaching session. His business background includes senior leadership roles for mission-critical teams and initiatives with global Fortune 500 companies and U.S. Government agencies. Shawn delivers powerful, effective and efficient coaching experiences which enables his clients to achieve results that were previously unattainable. Shawn strives to ensure the coaching journey is a fulfilling and enjoyable experience loaded with exploration, discovery, creativity, growth and achievement.
Senior Consultant
Contact Shawn:
Trish Perevich
Trish brings over 10 years of experience as an Executive Coach and has coached a range of professionals from emerging leaders to C-Suite Executives. Her experience includes individual and group coaching; design and delivery of corporate training and coaching programs; and facilitation of SVP and C-Level Peer Advisory Groups. Trish has worked with a range of organizations from startups to Enterprise Fortune 100 companies including Genentech/Roche, Google, NASA and the United States Airforce. She has served dozens of industries including technology, finance, life science, construction, healthcare, education and more. Supporting her experience is a BS Degree in Business/Marketing from The Rochester Institute of Technology. Trish holds the PCC coaching credential along with certificates in Conscious Business Coaching and Team Advantage Coaching. Outside of work Trish enjoys golf, hiking, yoga, fitness classes, cooking and travel.
Senior Consultant
Contact Trish:
Trish Perevich
Trish brings over 10 years of experience as an Executive Coach and has coached a range of professionals from emerging leaders to C-Suite Executives. Her experience includes individual and group coaching; design and delivery of corporate training and coaching programs; and facilitation of SVP and C-Level Peer Advisory Groups. Trish has worked with a range of organizations from startups to Enterprise Fortune 100 companies including Genentech/Roche, Google, NASA and the United States Airforce. She has served dozens of industries including technology, finance, life science, construction, healthcare, education and more. Supporting her experience is a BS Degree in Business/Marketing from The Rochester Institute of Technology. Trish holds the PCC coaching credential along with certificates in Conscious Business Coaching and Team Advantage Coaching. Outside of work Trish enjoys golf, hiking, yoga, fitness classes, cooking and travel.
Senior Consultant
Contact Trish:
Kan Yan
Kan has worked as an international humanitarian for the United Nations, a lawyer for the US Federal Courts, and a management consultant for McKinsey & Company where he consulted Fortune 500 clients across numerous industries with a focus on organizational health and leadership development. He has a law degree from Harvard Law School and a Masters of Law and Diplomacy from the Tufts Fletcher School.
Senior Consultant
Contact Kan:
Kan Yan
Kan has worked as an international humanitarian for the United Nations, a lawyer for the US Federal Courts, and a management consultant for McKinsey & Company where he consulted Fortune 500 clients across numerous industries with a focus on organizational health and leadership development. He has a law degree from Harvard Law School and a Masters of Law and Diplomacy from the Tufts Fletcher School.
Senior Consultant
Contact Kan:
Paulin Laberge
Paulin has co-founded two technology companies and has served as CEO of five. After more than 30 years of senior leadership roles in the technology industry, Paulin recently made the transition from running companies to helping teams grow their companies. His most recent engagement was as CEO of iCompass Technologies, a SaaS company that delivers solutions that strengthen open and efficient government, and which resulted in a successful exit at the end of 2017. He has been an advisor and mentor to numerous technology companies. Paulin has firsthand experience in building organizations, developing effective strategies, securing financing, developing market-leading products, establishing strategic alliances, marketing, and selling domestically and internationally. He has worked with boards and management teams to help them precisely execute critical corporate objectives and business strategies, create performance-centric cultures, and engaged, motivated teams, focused on driving results. Paulin has been an Entrepreneur in Residence at the British Columbia Innovation Council, where he established a province-wide mentor program. He was also actively involved in the development and delivery of growth, strategy, and market validation programs widely used by several technology accelerators. Paulin started his career as an Electrical Engineer after graduating from the University of Alberta. Throughout his career, Paulin has trained in numerous areas including, strategy, finance, sales, marketing, negotiations, organizational development, mentoring, and coaching. He resides with his wife, Lea, and their dog Huxley, on the west coast near Vancouver, BC.
Senior Strategic Planning Consultant
Paulin Laberge
Paulin has co-founded two technology companies and has served as CEO of five. After more than 30 years of senior leadership roles in the technology industry, Paulin recently made the transition from running companies to helping teams grow their companies. His most recent engagement was as CEO of iCompass Technologies, a SaaS company that delivers solutions that strengthen open and efficient government, and which resulted in a successful exit at the end of 2017. He has been an advisor and mentor to numerous technology companies. Paulin has firsthand experience in building organizations, developing effective strategies, securing financing, developing market-leading products, establishing strategic alliances, marketing, and selling domestically and internationally. He has worked with boards and management teams to help them precisely execute critical corporate objectives and business strategies, create performance-centric cultures, and engaged, motivated teams, focused on driving results. Paulin has been an Entrepreneur in Residence at the British Columbia Innovation Council, where he established a province-wide mentor program. He was also actively involved in the development and delivery of growth, strategy, and market validation programs widely used by several technology accelerators. Paulin started his career as an Electrical Engineer after graduating from the University of Alberta. Throughout his career, Paulin has trained in numerous areas including, strategy, finance, sales, marketing, negotiations, organizational development, mentoring, and coaching. He resides with his wife, Lea, and their dog Huxley, on the west coast near Vancouver, BC.
Senior Strategic Planning Consultant
Lisa Jaecklein
Lisa is well known in high tech industries for her work in developing and leading high-performance teams. She has “walked the talk” as President and CEO for private and public engineering based companies in Satellite Communications, Telecom and Commercial Enterprise markets. Lisa’s corporate background includes leading an IPO, Strategic Planning, Mergers and Acquisitions and integration of global teams. She draws from her diverse market experience and passion for coaching to support professional development of executives and senior management teams. Her focus areas include supporting development/ refinement of strategic plans, executive coaching to advance leadership capabilities and organization alignment necessary to support strategy implementation. Lisa brings a unique understanding of the interdependencies of people and business that drives results and ways to sustain a positive level of energy in her clients personal and professional lives. Lisa holds a BS in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco and has served as Director on a number of corporate and not for profit Boards.
Senior Consultant
Contact Lisa:
Lisa Jaecklein
Lisa is well known in high tech industries for her work in developing and leading high-performance teams. She has “walked the talk” as President and CEO for private and public engineering based companies in Satellite Communications, Telecom and Commercial Enterprise markets. Lisa’s corporate background includes leading an IPO, Strategic Planning, Mergers and Acquisitions and integration of global teams. She draws from her diverse market experience and passion for coaching to support professional development of executives and senior management teams. Her focus areas include supporting development/ refinement of strategic plans, executive coaching to advance leadership capabilities and organization alignment necessary to support strategy implementation. Lisa brings a unique understanding of the interdependencies of people and business that drives results and ways to sustain a positive level of energy in her clients personal and professional lives. Lisa holds a BS in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco and has served as Director on a number of corporate and not for profit Boards.
Senior Consultant
Contact Lisa: