When one woman informed her colleagues she’d be taking a few days off to focus on her mental health, she probably didn’t expect to go viral. But that’s exactly what happened, because the exchange she had with her boss captured how important it is to view mental-health days the same way we view sick days — as legitimate, valid, and necessary.
Madalyn Parker, a web developer and engineer at Olark Live Chat, emailed her team to let them know she planned to take some time off. “Hey team, I’m taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health,” she wrote in her email. “Hopefully I’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100 percent.” Parker’s message was straightforward, unapologetic, and honest, but that’s not the only reason it caught the Internet’s attention. Parker’s boss’s reply is what really sparked a viral conversation on social media.
“Hey Madalyn, I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this,” Parker’s boss, Olark founder and CEO Ben Congleton, responded. “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 organisations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work.” Parker screenshotted her email exchange with Congleton and shared it on Twitter, where it’s amassed nearly 16 000 retweets and 45 000 favourites to date.
Social-media users replied to Parker to let her know how thankful they were to see openness about self-care being validated on so many levels — both with Parker’s honesty about her experiences and Congleton’s acceptance of that honesty. “Great to see such understanding from executive management,” one social-media user tweeted in response. “I’m gonna have to start job hunting soon, and I’m mentally ill and have panic attacks. Thanks for giving me hope that I can find a job as I am,” another shared. Others have noted that other employers should take a page from Congleton’s book when it comes to championing mental-health days as part of a safe, encouraging, healthy, and sustainable work environment.
See Parker’s tweet below.
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
Taken from Self.com. Click here to read the original.
Some bosses aren’t as understanding as this! Readers reveal their real-life bosszilla stories, here.