Although it’s quite common for to take a day off work because of a physical illness, it is quite rare to feel like your mental health is in danger and request some days off. Mental health is still a taboo topic in many companies, but this was not the case with Olark’s CEO, who found the perfect way to support the employee’s email. Madalyn Parker, a web developer from Michigan, who works at Olark, wanted to take some days off work for her mental wel being, and she got the nicest reply. After sharing the email she received from her CEO, Ben Congleton, Madalyn got over 9.5 thousand retweets and more than 32 thousand likes as her message went viral.
Here is Madalyn’ email in detail.
Madalyn was bold enough to e-mail her office to let them know the situation, and that’s when her boss sent her a message that was fully supportive.
CEO Ben Congleton responded:
“I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this. 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. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can bring our whole selves to work.”
Madalyn shared a screenshot of the email exchange, and it soon got a lot of attention online.
In an article on Medium.com, Mr Congleton shared his thoughts on the issue in a post entitled; “It’s 2017 and Mental Health is still an issue in the workplace.” In the post, he also stated “I had no idea my response would become so visible — the reactions revealed that my stance on mental health in the workplace is unconventional, to say the least. I started realising how impactful [sic] my email had been after I began reading some of the responses to Madalyn’s tweet. Some of the responses brought tears to my eyes.”
He added, “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.”
Back in 2015, Madalyn wrote an emotional essay about her battle with mental health issues. She explains that she has lived with anxiety for “as long as I can remember.”