Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Paul Kabat
Many companies boast great dental benefits and paid time off, but what about mental health days? While it's been reported that bosses are OK with their employees taking time off for reasons other than being physically sick or going on vacation, few people are comfortable openly requesting time off to take care of their mental health. Recently, however, Madalyn Parker told her team she was taking sick days for that exact reason, and her boss's awesome response is inspiring others to speak up and do the same.
The Ann Arbor-based web developer shared a screenshot of the email exchange with her boss on Twitter, and it's no mystery why the tweet has gone viral. With the subject line of the email reading "Where's Madalyn," she told her team that she was taking two days off "to focus on my mental health."
The CEO of the company responded with admiration and praise, writing, "I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health — I can't believe this is not standard practice at all organizations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring out whole selves to work."
When the CEO responds to your out of the office email about taking sick leave for mental health and reaffirms your decision. 💯 pic.twitter.com/6BvJVCJJFq— madalyn (@madalynrose) June 30, 2017
Madalyn's tweet has over 35K "likes" and has been retweeted over 11K times, but it's also garnered some powerful responses with many people chiming in to reaffirm the need to break the mental health stigma in the workplace.
Agreed. "I want to go hang out with family" and "I need to separate from stressors" are quite different. I want my co to be like yours.— Matt "summoning arachnogods" Olson (@carnivorous8008) July 1, 2017
I also agree. You wouldn‘t take holiday leave because you‘ve got flu. Mental Health is just as serious and real as Physical Health— Josh (@josh_the_tech) July 11, 2017
I'm chiming in here. With a family I need vacations for shared experiences. I takedays off to care for myself. Physical and mental.— Pavneet Singh Saund 🙌 (@pavsaund) July 11, 2017
There are a few parts to it.— GraveyDice 💚 (@GraveyDice) July 11, 2017
1: it's too much energy hiding all the time.
2: it affirms my sense of self
3: it breaks the stigma
I'm gonna have to start job hunting soon and I'm mentally ill & have panic attacks. Thanks for giving me hope that I can find a job as I am.
— ollie🌱 (@recarmdran) July 2, 2017
Following Madalyn's viral tweet, her CEO, Ben Congleton, penned an article on mental health in the workplace for Medium. "It's 2017," he wrote. "I cannot believe that it is still controversial to speak about mental health in the workplace when 1 in 6 Americans are medicated for mental health. . . . We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance. When an athlete is injured they sit on the bench and recover. Let's get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different."