Woman requests sick leave for mental health; CEO's response goes - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Woman requests sick leave for mental health; CEO's response goes viral

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When do you allow yourself to take a sick day? Only when you're hugging the toilet? Or... do you let yourself take a sick day to de-stress and gain better mental health?

We've all had those days, right? You have to go to work, but you're either completely exhausted, on the verge of tears, or perhaps moments away from what feels like a mental breakdown. Do you choose to take a sick day or do you suck it up and go to work anyway, for fear that your coworkers or boss will think less of you for staying home on a day when you're not stricken with a contagious illness?  

Well, one woman's story of how she chose to use her sick days for "mental health" has gone viral after she shared the response she got from a very understanding CEO. 

Madalyn Parker is a web developer from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and here was the email exchange she had with her CEO that has since been retweeted more than 10,000 times:

"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%.

Thanks, Madalyn" 

Here is the reply from her CEO: 

"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." 

People around the world applauded Madalyn's CEO for being so understanding. One woman even shared a very different email she received once from a professor saying, "I'll never forget this email I sent to one of my law professors and her reply."

Well Madalyn's CEO, Ben Congleton, actually wrote a response after her tweet received so much attention and feedback titled, "It’s 2017 and Mental Health is still an issue in the workplace."

He writes in part: 

"It is incredibly hard to be honest about mental health in the typical workplace. In situations like this, it is so easy to tell your teammates you are 'not feeling well.' Even in the safest environment, it is still uncommon to be direct with your coworkers about mental health issues. I wanted to call this out and express gratitude for Madalyn’s bravery in helping us normalize mental health as a normal health issue...

I had no idea my response would become so visible—he reactions revealed that my stance on mental health in the workplace is unconventional, to say the least:

I started realizing how impactful my email had been after I began reading some of the responses to Madalyn's tweet.

Some of the responses brought tears to my eyes (there are 100s like this).

There were so many stories of people wishing they worked at a place where their CEO cared about their health, and so many people congratulating me on doing such a good thing. This should be business as usual. We have a lot of work to do.

It’s 2017. 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.

It’s 2017. I cannot believe that it is still controversial to offer paid sick leave. Did you know that only 73% of full-time employees in the US have paid sick leave?

It’s 2017. 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."

To read Parker's CEO Ben Congleton's full response, click here: http://tinyurl.com/y9sdgoy4

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