Madalyn Parker, a web developer from a US based software company, took to Twitter over what happened when she sent an email to the team that she’d be out of office for a few days to focus on her mental health.
The email was titled “Where’s Madalyn,” and in the body Parker wrote: “I’m taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health. Hopefully I’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%.”
However, it was her firm’s CEO Ben Congleton’s response that is winning hearts on social media. “I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this,” he wrote.”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 organisations.You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can bring our whole selves to work.” His heartfelt response has been shared and liked by more than 50,000 Twitter users, with many praising his kind words.
When the CEO responds to your out of the office email about taking sick leave for mental health and reaffirms your decision. _ pic.twitter.com/6BvJVCJJFq
— madalyn (@madalynrose) June 30, 2017
She told CNN she suffers from chronic anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. And every now and then, she needs to take some time to focus on her well-being. “I had experienced several nights of insomnia and was poorly rested and also having lots of suicidal thoughts, which make it difficult to accomplish much at work,” she said.
In a blog post, Congleton explained how surprised he was at the reaction to his response, and how in 2017 this response really should be the norm.
“Even in the safest environment it is still uncommon to be direct with your coworkers about mental health issues,” he wrote. “I wanted to…express gratitude for Mada lyn’s bravery in helping us normalise mental health as a normal health issue.”