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Gov. Cox provides time to Utah executive branch employees to address their mental health

Gov. Spencer Cox. (KSL-TV)

Utah’s Gov. Spencer Cox signed an executive order providing four hours of administrative leave for each person employed by the state’s executive branch to attend to their mental health.

Cox, along with Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson said mental they were responsible to show leadership in the mental health conversation and shift both how it is discussed and easy difficulties with accessibility. The four hours will be available Jan. 1, 2022 and said existing sick leave can be used for preventative health care, including for mental health.

“It is our responsibility to transform the way we think about, talk about and address all forms of mental health challenges,” Cox said in a video intended for state employees. “We all need to do better at taking care of ourselves and those around us…Together we can reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.”

In a press release Cox cited a Center for Disease Control survey that found 41% of those responding reported an adverse mental or behavioral health condition, including anxiety, depression, loneliness or increased substance abuse. In another survey, it would found that work-related concerns left more than 40% of employees feeling hopeless, burned out or exhausted with life altered by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the importance of mental health to the fore,” Henderson said. “We hope this order will give employees permission to take time to take care of their mental health without question.”

Employees of the executive branch of Utah’s government include those who work for state agencies such as Department of Corrections, Department of Health, and departments that handle state agencies dealing with transportation, veterans, technology, natural resources and labor, among many others. More information can be found right here.

The executive order can be found here.

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