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It’s easy to tell a little white lie and say you’re battling a stomach bug rather than admit you’re too hungover to come into work, but one woman on Twitter is getting a ton of support for coming clean about a perfectly normal reason to miss a day or two: She needed a mental health break.
“I’m taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health,” web developer Madalyn Parker wrote to her team on June 29. “Hopefully I’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%.”
A self-proclaimed mental health advocate who’s tweeted openly about combating anxiety, Parker had had a rough week:
Too distracted by my health (anxious, depressed, injured) to be effective at work.— madalyn (@madalynrose) June 28, 2017
Too worried about my work to be effective at self care.
But it was her boss’s reply that really turned heads:
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
When Parker tweeted CEO Ben Congleton’s thoughtful reply to her out-of-office message, thousands of people noticed, and as many or more had horror stories to share about bosses who would never in a million years recognize mental health as health. But for Congleton’s part, he was just doing what he thought was right. “This should be business as usual,” he later wrote in a Medium post on the viral email exchange.
Congleton and Parker work together at Olark, a company which has publicly posted about how much it values a “sustainable hustle.” But the two individuals have used their week in the spotlight to help further efforts to make mental health a priority in more workplaces than just their own, tweeting out resources and calling on the industry to normalize conversations about mental health at work. “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,” Congleton wrote.
I've heard way too many stories like this. We need to end the stigma! We don't respond like this for car crashes or the flu.— madalyn (@madalynrose) July 10, 2017
MH is health! https://t.co/QDQZdhaOyb
Or, simply put:
JAY Z RAPPED ABOUT HIS THERAPIST YOU CAN GET A THERAPIST TOO PLEASE GET A THERAPIST— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) June 30, 2017
Monica Riese now serves as the Daily Dot’s director of production, having previously been the publication’s entertainment editor and assistant managing editor. She is based in Austin, Texas, and formerly contributed to the Austin Chronicle, where her breaking news work was recognized by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.