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Why these companies give a mental health break to their employees



This is part of a one-day campaign called "National Health Break", which was initiated by Shine – a startup well known for its daily text messaging service designed to address negative thought patterns. The company wants to raise awareness of mental health in the workplace and encourage more businesses to have ongoing conversations with employees about Mental Health Days so they are not considered taboo.

On May 15, participating employers will have a mental health break for staff at 3 pm local time or allow employees to take time for themselves at any time of the day.

Some companies have organized group meditations, while others will allow workers to return home several hours in advance. Some have agreed to review their mental health day policies as part of their efforts. The hope is to begin normalizing work, taking a mental health break, at a time when it's easier than ever to stay in constant contact with colleagues via Slack, email and text.

Shine recruited a large number of companies and organizations, including Giphy, GIF search engine, the start of the Ollie dog food distribution and the startup of Justworks HR services to participate in the campaign.

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"How can we create a time when companies encourage discussions on mental health?" Marah Lidey, co-founder of Shine, told CNN Business. "Everyone is talking about personal care, but nobody talks about mental health at work."

Lidey and co-founder Naomi Hirabayashi said they recently surveyed more than 1,770 Shine users. Both said they found that while most participants indicated that they planned to spend a day on mental health at work, only a portion of them felt at ease to ask for this leave.

The duo said that few companies actually had a policy that included mental health days.

This is Shine's first major campaign on mental health awareness, which takes place during Mental Health Awareness Month. The company, which was founded about three years ago and has raised $ 8 million, has about 4 million users around the world. Shine sends users daily texts offering affirmation, inspiration and motivation in a conversational tone. Last year, the company launched an application offering more personalized content, such as audio meditations.

"The cost of inaction is so much bigger, why is mental health so difficult and so uncomfortable?" Hirabayashi added that the need for a mental health break "is the most universal and humane thing."


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