Mental health is a very serious issue that is now finally getting some of the spotlight that it deserves. A lot of professional athletes are now starting to talk about it as well which has given it some national media attention. It is now being appreciate for the very dangerous implications that it can bring about.
A web developer named Madalyn Parker who works in Ann Arbor, MI, shared an email from her CEO in response to her announcing she was taking a mental health day from work. Mashable reports that the tweet went viral, but not because his response was bad. Ben Congleton let Parker and the rest of her team know that he fully supports using your time off for your mental health as well as your physical health, and it's bringing up a lot of feelings:
There is still a stigma around admitting to needing mental health care, and sometimes that means taking a day off from work and caring for yourself even if you are not physically sick. Depression can manifest physically, though, so that's another thing to consider. Lots of people responded to Parker's tweet with questions about why she was sharing this experience and why she didn't just say something more general, like that she was "under the weather." Parker says she doesn't want to hide her mental health recovery anymore:
But *vacations* are for mental health too. So then really what's difference btwn sick leave & vacation leave? Could be just 1 leave policy— Andrew Cohen (@acohenNY) July 1, 2017
Having them separate helps me reason about them. I took an entire month off to do partial hospitalization last summer and that was sick...— madalyn (@madalynrose) July 1, 2017
... leave. I still felt like I could use vacation time because I didn't use it and it's a separate concept.— madalyn (@madalynrose) July 1, 2017
Who needs to know what kind of sick I am when I log sick leave?— Dieter Petereit (@dpetereit) July 6, 2017
I'm specific to be an example so my team knows that they can feel comfortable taking sick leave for mental health, even if they don't say it— madalyn (@madalynrose) July 6, 2017
There were also a lot of people who shared the terrible responses they got from bosses or other people in authority when they said they needed to take care of their mental health:
I took a mental health afternoon at my last job and got passive aggressive documentation about the mental health coverage in our health plan— Janie Clayton (@RedQueenCoder) July 1, 2017
:( When I need a mental health day I usually just wrote "I'm not feeling well" or somesuch. I feel like deets are private business anyway.— Nathan Reed (@Reedbeta) July 1, 2017
But most people are clapping for her CEO:
Ben deserves a coffee if you go in on Monday morning— In Shaka In Backa (@Nicoley410) July 6, 2017
I love your bunny and that your CEO supports you & understands. Its amazing. Hope your time of clarity helps you feel more like yourself!— Monnie (@monnie) July 2, 2017
Any jobs going where you work? So rare. I left a mental health charity once bc HR wanted to know in advance when I'd have a panic attack— mollywallop (@mollywallop) July 6, 2017
It may be a long time before corporate culture allows for people to take the space they need to care for both the mind and body, but Parker's honesty about her needs and her boss's support are taking us one step in the right direction.