Is it time to take a sick day for mental health?

A few weeks ago, Madalyn Parker messaged her team at work to tell them she was taking a couple of sick days for mental health reasons.
“I’m taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health. Hopefully I’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%,” she wrote.
Parker, 26, is a web developer for Olark, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has been open about her experience struggling with anxiety and depression that hasn’t always responded to medication. When the company CEO, Ben Congleton, read her note, he sent a supportive reply back.”Hey Madalyn, 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 organizations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work,” he wrote.Parker said it really moved her.
“When I saw his response and I read it, it brought tears to my eyes,” Parker told CBS News.Parker has been with Olark since 2014 — her first and only job since graduating from college — and said she counts her blessings that she works for a company that’s good to her and colleagues in this way.Whenever you’re in a marginalized group, you need that person in a position of privilege to amplify your voice and he does this,” Parker said of Congleton.”This huge response blew us all away,” said Parker, who posted a copy of his note on Twitter last week, with his permission.
Tens of thousands of people have liked and commented on the viral post, with remarks ranging from support for Parker’s honesty with her coworkers to kudos to her boss and the company as a whole for placing mental health issues on par with physical health problems.Clare Miller, director of the partnership for workplace mental health at the American Psychiatric Association Foundation, told CBS News, “We know from literature that there is a huge amount of calling in sick because of mental health issues.”Employers are interested in mental health in a way I’ve never seen before. I’ve been here a long time and I’m seeing the conversation opening up a lot,” said Miller, who helps companies create programs that support their employees who have conditions such as depression, anxiety.

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