Despite mental health being spoken about by the likes of Lady Gaga and the royal family, many of us still struggle to discuss the issue in the workplace.
Even more of us would never think of taking time off to focus on our mental health.
One woman took the plunge and did just that. Web developer and engineer Madalyn Parker sent an open email to her colleagues that read: “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 she received a reply from the CEO of the company, Parker didn’t expect a positive one. So she was pleasantly surprised to read Ben Congleton’s supportive words.
“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,” he wrote. “I can’t believe this is not standard practice at all organisations.”
“You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can bring our whole selves to work.”
Parker shared her boss’ inspiring message on Twitter, racking up over 8000 retweets and 30,000 likes.
Her boss even went so far as to write an essay on Medium, sharing exactly why companies need to think about the mental health of their employees.
“It is incredibly hard to be honest about mental health in the typical workplace,” Congleton wrote. “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 co-workers about mental health issues.”
“It’s 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance,” he continued. “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.”
He then called for all employers to think of ways to “help create a safe space for teammates.”
A true role model for bosses everywhere.