One in four people will struggle with a mental health disorder at some point in their lives, yet talking about it is still seen as a weakness, particularly in the workplace. Fortunately, some companies have put mental health policies into place, but as any member of working America can attest, these policies are seldom taken advantage of (explicitly, anyway).
This reality makes Madalyn Parker's recent email to her CEO all the more inspiring. Parker, a web developer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, emailed her team to let them know that she'd be taking two days off to "focus on my mental health." Rather than meeting her with skepticism and judgment, Parker's CEO actually thanked her being honest. See the full exchange below, which Parker shared on Twitter:
The email exchange has since been retweeted almost 12,000 times and liked 36,541. People are praising Parker's decision to be up front about the reason behind her absence, rather than hiding behind the standard "sick day" or "vacation day." While this may seem insignificant, her simple choice of words helps to normalize conversations about mental health in the workplace and deconstruct the stigma surrounding it; an effort that's increasingly important as the line between work and play continues to blur into nonexistence.
"I wasn't expecting the exposure, but I am so glad I was able to have such a positive impact on so many people," writes Ben Congleton, Madalyn's CEO, who took to Medium to elaborate on his original email. "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. 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."
What are your thoughts on Madalyn's decision and her CEO's response? Share your reaction below.