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The Workplace Email Exchange That Started a Discussion About Mental Health
A Michigan woman recently tweeted out an email exchange between her boss that has taken the internet by storm. Madalyn Parker, a 26-year-old software developer from Ann Arbor, Michigan sent out an email to her team at her workplace informing them that she would be taking a couple of days off to focus on her mental health. The reply that her boss sent back has sparked a discussion online about mental health and the workplace.
In an interview with CNN, Parker said that she suffers from chronic anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Every once in a while she takes some time to focus on her mental well-being. She works for Michigan based Olark, a live chat platform that helps businesses talk to customers.
“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.
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
“Wow, I wish! I needed a medical mental health stay once. Upon my return, my boss told me not to let it happen again or my job would be gone,” one woman wrote.
Another said, “I had to take a mental health day recently and lie about my reasoning for not coming in, because it’s not seen as a viable excuse for missing work.”
Madalyn’s boss, Ben Congleton told CNN, “I think there’s a lot of people out there that don’t really understand what mental health is. I feel sorry for them. Mental health (is) just as important as physical health in these situations.”
His advice to employers? Create a workplace where your employees feel safe talking about what’s bothering them.
“There’s this misconception that you can leave part of yourself home when you go to work,” Congleton told CNN. “(But) some personal stuff is gonna hang in there and hold on.”