To go off sick?

(53 Posts)
greenbluewho Thu 05-Aug-21 05:42:49

I'm an adults social worker and as I've been lying awake most of the night worrying about my cases and trying not to cry I realise I just can't do it anymore.

Not right now at least.

It's hell at the moment. Crazy busy. Complex cases. No care around because of pinging and Brexit or whatever other reasons.

My brain won't switch off. I just can't.

I could go sick - but I'm one of those who never has sick, last time was a few years ago when my appendix ruptured so I had no choice,

I think if I do this now feeling like this I won't be going back ever. My team is already struggling with sickness and short staffed due to being unable to recruit. I'd drop them in it with my 25 or so cases from hell.

Part of the reason I'm feeling like this is because I've had other peoples' awful cases dropped on me when they've gone off.

I really need some time but I don't want to drop them in it. Crying just typing this.

AIBU to just call in sick and let my manager worry about it? He's not done my supervision for 3 months anyway so maybe if he had I'd be in a better place.

OP’s posts: |
AwkwardSquad Thu 05-Aug-21 05:49:35

You need to look after yourself. Call in sick and make an appointment with your GP. I also work in the public sector and the pressure to keep going is immense. But you don’t owe them your health and mental well-being like this, and they’re not taking care of you, are they? So just stop.

AwkwardSquad Thu 05-Aug-21 05:51:40

I know how hard it is to step away, I really do. But you need to put yourself first now because otherwise, it’ll get worse.

minisoksmakehardwork Thu 05-Aug-21 05:52:07

Yanbu at all. Especially if your manager has failed in their duty of care to ensure you've had the support and space you need to offload and deal with all of these.

Self care is very important, especially in a job like yours. Phone in sick - you don't have to give a reason straight away and make an appointment to see your gp - if you need to say something, phone in sick and let them know you're seeing the dr.

But no, if others are going off as well it sounds like the team could really do with effective supervision and management. So it might just be the kick up the arse needed to change things. <remains optimistic>.

greenbluewho Thu 05-Aug-21 05:53:45

I think I should've addressed it sooner as now I feel like it can't be resolved.

I'll be letting down a lot of my service users as well. Some of the complex ones I've had for a while.

OP’s posts: |
bookishtartlet Thu 05-Aug-21 05:54:16

If you're looking for permission that this is OK to take time off for your mental wellbeing, I'm giving you it.

Take at least a week, see your gp about stress management. Look into how to improve your work life balance.

I'm a teacher, and the expectation is that we keep on going regardless of the impact on our own health. I have two social worker friends, both looking to retrain as they just cannot cope.

Take the sick days, look after yourself. If your leg was hanging off you'd have no question in taking time off.

greenbluewho Thu 05-Aug-21 05:54:50

Yes at the rate team members are dropping there will be no one left soon ☹️

OP’s posts: |


Dontjudgeme101 Thu 05-Aug-21 06:03:47


Yes at the rate team members are dropping there will be no one left soon ☹️

That’s not your problem. As previous people hav3 said, look after yourself. 💐

greenbluewho Thu 05-Aug-21 06:04:42

Thank you, I think I will take the permission. I know OU are all right, but the guilt is a bitch!

OP’s posts: |
StrictlyAFemaleFemale Thu 05-Aug-21 06:07:52


Yes at the rate team members are dropping there will be no one left soon ☹️

Not. Your. Problem. Nor is it your failure. It is managements job to you know, manage their woekforce.

girlmom21 Thu 05-Aug-21 06:15:14

Don't feel guilty. If you're not well you're not in a position to do your best for your service users. Get yourself back on form and they'll be there when you get back!

AwkwardSquad Thu 05-Aug-21 06:16:20


Thank you, I think I will take the permission. I know OU are all right, but the guilt is a bitch!

Good decision. I’m another one giving you the permission! The guilt is indeed a bitch but you are not responsible for the systemic problems causing the issues that are making you ill. You are responsible for you. flowers

Fontaine33 Thu 05-Aug-21 06:19:27

I work in the nhs. It’s really hard to step away in these jobs, but if this is what it’s doing you need to take the time otherwise you’ll burn out.
Plan what you’re going to say when you ring and speak to your manager. Write your cases down and anything that’s worrying you about them and email it in so you can handover. Refer yourself to occ health and remember you’ve got 5 days to self certify and see your GP. Hope you feel bettter soon x

TheDuchessofDukeStreet Thu 05-Aug-21 06:22:49

Op, I’m a nurse. I second the permission. Call the Gp today. You really need to. Take care of and be kind to yourself. These are bigger problems and not for you to solve. I’ve just made the decision to leave a busy surgical unit and even since I decided I’ve been so happy!
I wish you the very best💐🍫

Mintyt Thu 05-Aug-21 06:24:18

You need to look after yourself first, a bit like putting on your life jacket before you put on your child's. Once your rested and feel better you will be able to care better. It's a mistake we have all made, running on empty, and it's no good for anyone

Nobloat21 Thu 05-Aug-21 06:37:28

If you take sick leave now you might be able to come back from it and heal. Don't leave it any longer. Ring in sick and then straight onto GP. It helps to be signed off for a longer period than a week so that you can mentally relax.

Freshstart67 Thu 05-Aug-21 06:41:12

Take day off, look after your own MH. See GP, get yourself signed off for a week or two, sounds like it’s needed.

I worked years in MH field. Honestly you need to look after yourself otherwise you are not helping others to your full capacity.

Sorry you are feeling like this. Take good care.

marthasmum Thu 05-Aug-21 06:41:49

OP I have worked in the NHS and when I felt similar, a counsellor said to me that by stepping away I was actually being responsible towards my clients as I was recognising I wasn’t well enough to care for them. I found that helpful, hope you might? All the best , your perspective will be very different if you get time away and care for yourself, even if it doesn’t feel that way. I thought I’d never go back and I did

motherrunner Thu 05-Aug-21 06:46:56

I’m a teacher - I understand and sympathise and also echo PP advising you to take a break. I understand the guilt, the fact that colleagues may also be off, how difficult it is for a ‘supply’ to cover your role. It’s now our problem. Over time the Government had eroded public services that we are over worked and under staffed. Don’t feel guilty. It’s not your fault, it’s the fault of the system. Look after yourself. Go to your GP 💐

motherrunner Thu 05-Aug-21 06:47:22

* not (not now)

LoislovesStewie Thu 05-Aug-21 06:48:31

Another one giving you permission. It's not your fault that the caseload is overwhelming or difficult, or that you have had no supervision. You need to speak to your GP and tell HR why you are overwhelmed. I hope you recover soon, but don't feel forced to return until you are well.
Sending you a hug!

QueenLagertha Thu 05-Aug-21 07:07:15

Hi OP. I work in NHS in care management role with complex cases too. Get signed off. If ive ever been to GP with any illness in the past they ask what my job is. As soon as I tell them they offer to sign me off sick as they say they understand how stressful it can be. Look after yourself. You'll get no prizes for being a martyr

HaudYerWheeshtYaWeeBellend Thu 05-Aug-21 07:15:24

Ex children’s EDT social worker - This was me 7-8 years ago and was the best decision I made.

At one point I had in excess of 50+ cases and my manager trying to give more as another colleague left.

I’d already voiced/emailed my concerns over a period of a year or so advising that my mental health was suffering and due to this I was having physical symptoms requiring medication and GP advising needed to reduce my stress levels etc... requested multiple meetings to help support this however was simply advised this was “the job” and that I needed to manage my time and case loads better while giving more caseloads when colleague left... (over half were complex cases)

Finial straw when when I was “requested” to attend court for a case I had no involvement in, when I emailed to say I wouldn’t and couldn’t attend due to my diary already being full I was threatened with disciplinary.

In the end I made a claim for stress at work and won my case without it needing to be taken to court.

You need to do what’s best for you.

BungleandGeorge Thu 05-Aug-21 07:36:47

I think you should speak to your manager urgently and give them a chance to resolve the situation. It would be far better for all for you to reduce your workload to a manageable level

StrangeToSee Thu 05-Aug-21 07:50:22

I’d speak to your GP on the phone, explain you’re suffering from stress and burnout and ask to be signed off for a month. Nearly every HCP I know has at some point done that! Some people take the full 6 months if they’re NHS. Even that’s not uncommon especially since covid, so many have long covid or burnout. Nobody wants any more staff suicides, they happen too often just get hushed up 😭

Sure you may not go back, but you need to prioritise your mental health.

You may find a better job with less stress or return on a phased plan so they can’t dump everyone’s work on you. Your manager has the option to hire a locum to take on cases, but they won’t if staff accept extra work.

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