Many of us in this modern time have realized the importance of mental health and its treatment. However, there is still a lot of disagreement regarding the fact that mental health is just not the same or as people like to call it ‘serious’ as any physical illness. The stigma that has rooted itself in the minds of individuals is that isolation or taking a break from society or work due to mental illness is not acceptable. Our society thinks people can work even though they aren’t mentally available. One woman changed the way people view mental illness through her courageous email to her CEO. Moreover, his response is also what needs to be appreciated and paid serious attention to.
Madalyn Parker, a web developer for a Michigan-based chat software company, having both depression and anxiety, severe mental illnesses that need to be given immense support and importance, sent an email to her team informing them that she was taking two days off to “focus on her mental health.” An act that many of us might not have been able to commit due to the lack of supportive and understanding response one might receive but the response received by Madalyn from her CEO was not only understanding but was one where he praised her for taking care of herself. We didn’t see that coming now, did we?
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
Ben Congleton, the CEO of her company, allowed her to take the leave. He also applauded her for taking sick leave for mental health, which was just as important as any other reason. He emphasized that every organization should have this as a reasonable and efficient procedure.
Hey there, new followers! I talk a lot about depression, rabbits, and social justice. 💜https://t.co/lSuX5Eko1q
— madalyn (@madalynrose) July 3, 2017
An incident like that is rarely seen or experienced that many of us are in awe and respect of both the employee and the boss. It seems like a fairytale doesn’t it? And maybe that’s an exaggeration but the part played by both these exemplary individuals has had a lot of impact on the people who got to know about it. It played its part to help and educate others, teaching them that mental illnesses should be acknowledged and prioritized by everyone, the ones who suffer and also the ones who have to respond to them. Ever since this exchange between her and her boss, Madalyn shared her story on Twitter which has gained more than 50,000 likes by twitter users along with more than 8,400 retweets, showing that many have been shocked and inspired by their conversation.
But *vacations* are for mental health too. So then really what's difference btwn sick leave & vacation leave? Could be just 1 leave policy
— Andrew Cohen (@acohenNY) July 1, 2017
Madalyn made sure to help them learn what she was going through and why she did it. Explaining that mental health was important and that time off for vacation was different compared to taking a break for mental health, and the latter was of no less significance.