Why one boss's response to an employee’s mental health request went viral.
The response shows the implementation is as important as the policies themselves.
THE GOOD NEWS
A team-wide response shows that employers are taking mental health days seriously — and commending employees for using them.
Madalyn Parker was more honest than many employees would be when she sent an email to her boss and co-workers letting them know she was taking two days off to address her mental health. The short, candid message didn’t get into specifics, but many, especially those needing to tend to their mental health, would hesitate in addressing what remains a stigmatized issue in the workplace and throughout society.
Fortunately for Madalyn and those who depend on the benefits mental health days provide, her boss was quick to push any awkwardness aside and thank her for helping “cut through the stigma.”
Madalyn, a web developer, was more than happy to share his supportive response on Twitter:
When the CEO responds to your out of the office email about taking sick leave for mental health and reaffirms your… https://t.co/KLfhpXNBfB— madalyn (@madalyn) 1498854569.0
Because mental illness may be less quantifiable to co-workers than, say, a runny nose or a cough, it’s common practice for individuals or even companies to deride their use by workers, but World Health Organization information from September 2017 says lost productivity due to depression and anxiety can hamper the global economy by up to $1 trillion per year.
Twitter users were quick to offer their work experiences as well as their hopes for the future.
@madalynrose @acohenNY @davidjbland Agreed. "I want to go hang out with family" and "I need to separate from stress… https://t.co/fpmA2Dwchc— Matt "summoning arachnogods" Olson (@Matt "summoning arachnogods" Olson) 1498949073.0
@madalynrose @audioantihero this is awesome, but I get so few sick days I don’t feel I can afford to take them for… https://t.co/5rQAtTuqFQ— Kathleen Elise (@Kathleen Elise) 1499863799.0
While mental health days may eventually be made available by right, it’s dependent on the company to ensure a culture that affords employees comfort in taking them.
@madalynrose @Reedbeta I took a mental health afternoon at my last job and got passive aggressive documentation abo… https://t.co/clmzyjWWhq— Janie Larson (@Janie Larson) 1498943541.0
Madalyn’s company seems to offer that, which is perhaps why she’s compelled to not only share her personal experience with a sympathetic employer and also tout its value to others.
@chowspecial @peterhuntwelch I've been asked on multiple occasions what I'm going to do to take care of myself afte… https://t.co/5Z39A5e42i— madalyn (@madalyn) 1499380087.0