Mental health issues are incredibly common in Australia with one in five people experiencing symptoms of a mental disorder in their lifetime. And yet, mental health days are still not a standard practice in some workplaces.
Enter: Madalyn Parker. Last month, Parker, an engineer from California, took a couple of mental health days and put her out of office on. It read: “Hey team, I’m taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health. Hopefully I’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%.”
Parker’s boss, Ben Congleton, replied to the email in the best possible way – by thanking her for reminding him of the importance of using sick days for mental health.
He wrote: “You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work.”
Since sharing her boss’s sympathetic response on Twitter, Parker’s tweet has been re-tweeted almost 13,000 times and liked by 38,000 people.
“I am absolutely floored by how viral this has gone!” Parker told Buzzfeed. “I’m really happy that we’re raising awareness and normalising mental illness. We need to squash the stigma.”
Twitter users have since shared their own positive experiences with mental health days.
Others have demonstrated how not to respond to mental health days in the workplace...
By sharing her story, Parker hopes to change the stigma around mental health. “I wish more people understood that mental health *is* health!” she said, to much applause from the marie claire office.