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Tech Worker Asked For A Mental Health Day And Received An Email From Boss About The Example She Was Setting

tech worker asked for mental health day and received email from boss about example she was setting

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Tech Worker Asked For A Mental Health Day And Received An Email From Boss About The Example She Was Setting


In recent years, taking mental health days to indulge in self-care and restoration has become more normalized across all avenues, including in the workplace and schools.

In June 2017, a web developer who had struggled with mental issues for quite some time decided that she needed a day off of work to “focus on her mental health.” After informing her team, she received an email from her boss that encapsulated how serious mental health should be taken in the workplace.

She asked for a ‘mental health day’ and received an email from her boss about the ‘example’ she was setting.

In a post to X, Madalyn Parker shared the email that she’d sent to her team about taking a mental health day and the response from her boss that reaffirmed her decision in the first place. Parker, 26, resided in Ann Harbor, Michigan, and was a software engineer for Olark — a Michigan-based live-chat platform that helps businesses talk to customers.

RELATED: Burnout Coach Tells Salaried Employees To ‘Go Home’ After 40 Hours — ‘Nothing Is Truly Urgent At A Corporate Job’

Parker had been open about her mental health struggles with both anxiety and depression in the workplace. In a 2015 post on Medium titled “Overcoming Mental Health Hurdles at Work,” she wrote about sharing her mental health challenges with her colleagues and feeling supported by her team.

“I have gotten to a place where I feel comfortable sharing my experience and letting people know when I’m not doing well. I have shorn that source of stress and no longer worry about others, especially at my job, thinking I don’t care or don’t like what I am doing,” Parker wrote. “It feels so good to know how well-supported I am at work, and that I really do have the power to make things happen.”

“After repeatedly being told to keep my problems to myself for fear of discrimination, it’s good to know that it actually is possible to be open about mental health (even at work!) and have healthier relationships and less stress for it,” she continued.

After realizing that she needed to take a mental health day, Parker sent an email notifying her team that she wouldn’t be coming to work and would “hopefully… be back next week refreshed and back to 100%.” However, shortly after sending the email, Parker got a surprising response from the CEO of Olark, Ben Congleton.

Congleton wanted to personally thank Parker for sending her email, highlighting how important it is for employees to use their sick days as mental health days if they saw fit. “I can’t believe this is not a standard practice at all organizations,” he wrote.

“You are an example to us all,” he continued, “and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work.”

RELATED: Woman Forced To Go Into The Office To ‘Collaborate’ With Coworkers Realizes She’s The Only One Not Working From Home

Congleton admitted that seeing all of the praise for his response brought tears to his eyes.

In a post shared on LinkedIn, Congleton explained that as an executive and someone who leads an organization, his sole job is to “empower and motivate our teams to maximize the impact of our organization for our customers, our employees, our shareholders, and the world.”

“Some of the responses brought tears to my eyes,” he explained. “There were so many stories of people wishing they worked at a place where their CEO cared about their health and so many people congratulating me on doing such a good thing. This should be business as usual. We have a lot of work to do.”

Parker’s story was shared on TikTok by a career content creator named Amber Lord. She stressed the importance of mental health days being made available to employees, adding that they are entirely different from “sick days.”

“I think they absolutely should be completely separate because mental health days are a completely separate issue,” she explained. “Mental health days are not when you’re necessarily sick with [a] cold or flu or anything like that. But mental health days are meant to help you avoid burnout, which can lead to long-term serious health issues and put you out of work long term.”

Nearly 8% of the American workforce experiences depression annually, with job stress and long hours among the leading causes of moderate to severe suicidal ideation for employees in the United States, according to Lyra, the leading global workforce in mental health care.�

There are many individuals, including managers and CEOs, who don’t understand that mental health is just as important as physical health, especially when it comes to being productive in the workplace. Employees should feel empowered to speak about their mental health issues without feeling as if they’re a burden or fearing that repercussions may happen if they do.�

RELATED: 5 Professional Women Share How They Are Secretly Struggling At Work And It’s Only Getting Worse

Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.





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