When This Woman Asked For A Mental Health Day, Her Boss’ Response Went Viral

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Mental health is simply as important as physical health. The two are more closely connected than many people realize.

When This Woman Asked For A Mental Health Day, Her Boss’ Response Went Viral

Mental health is simply as important as physical health. The two are more closely connected than many people realize. What do you think would happen if you asked your boss for a sick day for mental health reasons?


Madalyn Parker is a web developer from Michigan that did just that.


Madalyn asked her boss whether she could take some days off to focus on her mental health. She did not have a bad cold or a trip to some exotic beach planned.


Instead, she needed some time to think, rest, and basically focus on her state of mind. She admitted living with depression is not always easy and so it’s essential for her to stay on top of her mental health.


“The bottom line is that mental health is health,” explained Madalyn. “My depression stops me from being productive at my job the same way a broken hand would slow me down since I wouldn’t be able to type very well.”


When This Woman Asked For A Mental Health Day, Her Boss’ Response Went Viral

Madalyn Parker FACEBOOK


Madalyn sent an email to her colleagues reading:


“Hey, Team,

I’m taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health. Hopefully, I’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%.”

When This Woman Asked For A Mental Health Day, Her Boss’ Response Went Viral

Rather than pretending she had the flu, Madalyn wanted to be honest with her coworkers by explaining the true reason why she was requesting time off work.


Shortly after she pressed ‘send,’ the CEO of her company replied to her:


“Hey Madalyn,

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 our whole selves to work.”

When This Woman Asked For A Mental Health Day, Her Boss’ Response Went Viral

The boss’ response moved Madalyn. She, therefore, decided to share it with all her followers on Twitter.


That happened back in June of 2017, and since then, it's been retweeted more than 16,000 times and accumulated more than 50,000 likes.


Madalyn’s post inspired many people. One person that suffers from panic attacks replied:


“Thanks for giving me hope that I can find a job as I am.”


“That is bloody incredible. What a fantastic CEO you have,” another wrote.


Some people commented on their boss, and how they wished they had a boss that was understanding and viewed them as a person.


Of course, there'll always be haters out there. One user, for example, questioned the difference between sick days and vacation time – isn’t vacation time supposed to be for mental health as well?


While technically that may be true, it ignores the bigger picture. According to Madalyn, there is a distinction between how we view sick days and vacation days concerning how this time is spent.


“I took an entire month off to do partial hospitalization last summer, and that was sick leave,” Madalyn replied. “I still felt like I could use vacation time because I didn’t use it and it’s a separate concept.”


Maybe even more attention was paid to Ben Congleton, the CEO of Madalyn’s company, Olark.


People were surprised that a CEO even cared about mental health, let alone that he thanked Madalyn for the reminder, and to all, to take mental health breaks.


One month after the event, Ben wrote a blog post on Medium regarding mental health issues in the workplace where he stressed the significance of prioritizing paid sick leave, and the need to stop stigmatizing mental health issues in the workplace. He stressed the significance of viewing employees as people too.


“It’s 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance,” wrote Congleton. “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.”

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