After she requested a mental health day, a screenshot of her boss’s response went viral

Madeleine Parker wanted to take a few days off. She didn’t have the flu, and she wasn’t going to drink a mojito under a palm tree on some beach.

Parker, a web developer from Michigan, wanted to take a few days off to focus on her mental health.


Parker suffered from depression. And, she says, maintaining mental health is absolutely crucial.

“The bottom line is mental health yes “Health,” she said in an email, “my depression stops me from being productive, just like an injured hand slows me down because I can’t type well.”

Madeleine Parker opened up to her colleagues about her situation.

Photo courtesy of Madalyn Parker.

She sent an email to her colleagues telling them the real reason for her leave.

“Hopefully I come back next week refreshed and 100 percent,” she wrote to them.

Shortly after the news was sent out, Parker’s CEO wrote back:

“Hey Madeleine,

I just wanted to personally thank you for sending such an email. Every time you do this, I use it to remind people of the importance of using sick time for mental health, and I can’t believe this isn’t standard practice across all organizations. You are an example to us all and help us remove the shame so we can bring our whole selves to work. “

Parker was so moved by the CEO’s response that he posted the email exchange on Twitter.

The tweet was posted on June 30, 2017 and went viral, racking up 45,000 likes and 16,000 retweets.

“It’s nice to see some warm, fuzzy feelings spreading online for the first time,” Parker said of the response to her tweet. “Still, I was blown away by the scale of it. I didn’t expect so much attention!”

More impressive than the tweet’s reach, however, was the heartfelt response it received.

“Thank you for giving me hope that I could find the job I have now.” wrote about a person, who talks about living with panic attacks. “It’s really unbelievable,” interject another. “What a great CEO you have.”

However, some users question why there is a need to differentiate between vacation time and sick time? after all, someone askedaren’t holidays meant to improve our mental health?

Parker says this ignores an important distinction between how we think about sick leave and vacation, and how vacation time feels. actually be spent.

“I took a whole month off last summer to go into partial hospitalization, so that was sick leave,” she said. wrote Back away. “I still feel like I can use my vacation time because I’m not using it and it’s a separate concept.”

Many users were surprised at how well the CEO understood employees’ mental health needs.

What surprised them even more was that the CEO grateful Thank you to her for sharing her personal experience of caring for your mental health.

After all, there’s still a lot of stigma associated with mental illness in the workplace, which prevents many of us from talking to coworkers when we need help or a break to focus on ourselves. We fear being seen as “weak” or less committed to our work. We may even worry about losing our jobs.

Ben Congleton, CEO of Parker’s Olark, even joined the conversation himself.

In a blog post on Medium, Congleton wrote that more business leaders need to prioritize paid sick leave, work to curb the stigma of mental illness in the workplace, and treat employees as people First.

“It’s 2017. We are in the knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to perform tasks at our best mental performance,” Congleton wrote. “When athletes get injured, they sit on the bench and recover. Let’s get rid of the idea that the brains are somehow different.”

This article was originally published on November 7, 2017


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