Employee takes sick days for mental health, boss' response has gone viral

One woman took a mental health sick day and was shocked at her boss’ response More

A CEO had the ideal response when one of his employees let her co-workers know she was taking a couple days off "to focus on (her) mental health" - and that reaction is making waves on social media. In situations like this, it is so easy to tell your teammates you are 'not feeling well.' Even in the safest environment it is still uncommon to be direct with your coworkers about mental health issues.

According to MentalHealth.gov, mental health specifically refers to your "emotional, psychological, and social well-being" and, depending on its state, can have a positive or negative effect on how you think, feel, and act toward others.

Considering the overwhelming response to Madalyn's tweet, Congleton chose to write an essay about the whole situation and shared it on his LinkedIn.

Some of the responses brought tears to my eyes (there are 100s like this).

If you share one thing today, make it this story! "This should be business as usual". Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health - I can't believe this is not standard practice at all organisations. "We have a lot of work to do".

As executives, we lead organizations made up of people who've come together to make an impact.

Twitter was overwhelmingly supportive of Parker's advocacy, but one user wondered, "Who needs to know what kind of sick I am when I log sick leave?"

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But when we're having a bad day mentally, whether it's related to stress, anxiety, or depression, we have a hard time asking for time off because there are no designated sick days for mental illness.

"It's 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance", Congleton wrote. "When an athlete is injured, they sit on the bench and recover".

Take some time this week to express gratitude to individuals on your team.

If you can take away anything from Parker and Congleton, it's that speaking up and speaking out is a sign of strength, not weakness. If there's enough interest, I'll write up some of the ideas we've tried.

Parker's tweet shed light on the stigma associated with mental health, especially in the American workforce.

But, as inspiring as Congleton is in his recognition of mental health's importance in the workplace, this conversation still has a considerable way to go. She previously gave a talk on overcoming mental health hurdles at work in 2015 at AlterConf, a traveling conference series for those in tech and gaming.

Thanks Madalyn, Karl, Kate, Kat, and Matt for reading drafts of this post.

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