NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Imagine asking your boss for a mental health day instead of a sick day? What would the reaction be?
As CBS2’s Emily Smith reported, one woman tried it, and it’s taking social media by storm.
When you work a full tine job sick days are common place, some employees even get personal days. But what about ‘mental health days’? Not the jokey phony ones, but when you really feel frayed.
Web developer Madalyn Parker stood up for her mental health by telling her boss in Michigan she had an issue. Her email said, “hey team, I am taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health. Hopefully I’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100 percent.”
Her bosses response?
“Ben, our CEO, emailed me back and just thanked me for speaking up and for being an example so others might feel safe taking time off for themselves if they need it,” she explained.
After tweeting the email exchange, with her boss’ permission, she received tens of thousands of likes and thousands of retweets.
Her boss even went public to discuss the stigma surrounding anxiety and depression.
“He wrote a blog post on Medium saying how shocked he was that this is still an issue,” she said.
Headhunter and workplace guru Stephen Viscusi said corporations rarely have an employee admit they’re taking a mental health day, and he doesn’t think most people would be lucky enough to get the same reaction as Parker.
“The secret is really just to take a day off or a sick day, why explain your entire life to your boss?” he said, “Bosses that I work with as a headhunter all said the same thing, take it as a sick day, no explanation necessary.”
Psychologist Harris Stratyner applauded Parker’s honesty and attention to her well-being.
“The mind and body are one. Your brain is part of your body. Without your brain you are dead. Let’s stop stigmatizing people,” he said.
Still, experts say the majority of people just call in sick and leave it at that.
Dr. Stratyner said if you need a mental health day and are feeling too tired to go to work, it’s best to try to stay off the computer.
He also suggested taking a yoga class, or meditating to relax.