For most of us, taking a sick day is frightening. We end up spending our time off anxious that our boss won't believe us and our job is on the line.
Even more nerve racking? Revealing you need time off for your mental health.
But one particular employee mustered the courage to speak up about her struggles and announce her day off to focus on clearing her head.
In a company wide email, web developer and engineer Madalyn Parker wrote: "i'm taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health. Hopefully i'll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%."
But her CEO's response was something else.
"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," he wrote in his reply. "I can't believe this is not standard practice at all organisations. You are an example to us all, and cut help through the stigma so we can bring our whole selves to work."
The email chain posted on Twitter racked up over 8000 retweets and 30,000 likes. Her boss later explained the reasoning behind his email in an essay shared on Medium.
“It is incredibly hard to be honest about mental health in the typical workplace,” Congleton wrote. “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 co-workers about mental health issues.”
“It’s 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance,” he continued. “When an athlete is injured, they sit on the bench and recover. Let’s get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different.”
If you are struggling with your mental health, contact BeyondBlue 1300 22 4636