When she asked for a mental health day, a screenshot of her boss’s reaction went viral

Madeline Parker wanted to take a few days off from work. He didn’t have the flu, nor did he plan to drink mojitos under a palm tree on the beach.

Parker, a web developer from Michigan, wanted to take a few days off work to focus on her mental health.


Parker lives with depression. And, she says, staying on top of her mental health is absolutely vital.

“The main thing is that mental health Is Health,” she says over email. “My depression prevents me from being productive at my work in the same way that a broken arm will slow me down because I won’t be able to type very well.”

Madeline Parker was honest with her coworkers about her situation.

Photo courtesy Madeline Parker.

She sent an email to her coworkers and gave them the honest reason why she was taking leave.

“Hopefully,” she wrote them, “I’ll be back next week refreshed and 100%.”

Shortly after the message was sent, the CEO of Parker’s company wrote back:

“Hey Madeline,

I would like to personally thank you for sending such emails. Every time you do this, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health, I can’t believe this isn’t standard practice in all organizations. You are an example to all of us, and help erase the stigma so we can all apply ourselves.”

Impressed by his CEO’s response, Parker posted the email exchange on Twitter.

The tweet, published on June 30, 2017, has since gone viral, receiving 45,000 likes and 16,000 retweets.

“It’s nice to see some warm, fuzzy feelings on the Internet for once,” Parker says of the response to her tweet. “However, I am absolutely shocked by the magnitude of it. I did not expect so much attention!”

Even more impressive than the tweet’s reach, however, were the heartfelt responses it received.

“Thank you for giving me hope that I can find a job like mine,” one person wrote, who opened up about living with panic attacks. “It’s absolutely unbelievable,” shouted in another, “What a wonderful CEO you have.”

However, some users questioned why there should be a difference between vacation time and sick days; after all, one askedIsn’t the purpose of holidays to improve our mental well-being?

This ignores an important difference, Parker said, in how we understand sick days and vacation days and what that time away from work is. In fact is being spent.

“I took a full month off last summer for partial hospitalization and that was sick leave,” she said. wrote Back. “I still feel like I could use vacation time because I didn’t use it and it’s a different concept.”

Many users were surprised that a CEO would be so understanding of an employee’s mental health needs.

He was even more surprised that the C.E.O. Thank you Thank him for sharing his personal experience regarding taking care of his mental health.

After all, there is still a large amount of stigma associated with mental illness in the workplace, which prevents many of us from talking to our coworkers when we need help or need time off to focus on ourselves. it occurs. We fear being considered “weak” or less committed to our work. We may also be afraid of losing our jobs.

Ben Congleton, CEO of Parker’s company Olark, also joined the conversation.

In a blog post on Medium, Congleton wrote about the need for more business leaders to prioritize paid sick leave, fight to stop the stigma associated with mental illness in the workplace, and see their employees that way. People First.

Congleton wrote, “It’s 2017. We’re in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to have peak mental performance.” “When an athlete gets injured, he sits on the bench and recovers. Let’s get rid of the idea that the brain is somehow different.”

This article was originally published on 07.11.17


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