I’m sure many of you have read an article or two about Madalyn Parker this week. This hard working manager at Olark needed a few extra days to take care of her mental health, and instead of side-stepping the issue due to fears of judgement and stigma, she kept her head held high and lead with honesty. Most people, including myself have lied about missing work due to anxiety or depression. I usually blamed my absence from work on a ‘flu’ or ‘stomach problems’ in hopes of avoiding any possible judgement from management if I was completely open with them about my health.
This email exchange between Ben Congleton(her boss) and Madalyn will most definitely serve as motivation for others to step up to the plate and be honest with their vary own mental health issues. Mental health in the work place isn’t something we can avoid talking openly about anymore. Hopefully if you are reading this and need to take a mental health day tomorrow, you will follow Madalyn’s lead and do the same.
Congleton later responded to the attention, also in a blog post on Medium, saying the outpouring of support had surprised him because “this should be business as usual. We have a lot of work to do.”
“It’s 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance,” Congleton wrote. “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.”
Mental health problems are fairly common in the U.S. About one in 20 people over age 12 report suffering from depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anxiety disorders affect about 18 percent of the population, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Multiple studies have found that more than one out of four people report feeling “burned out” or “extremely stressed” by their work. The CDC says multiple studies have shown that certain working conditions greatly increase work stress, including heavy workloads, lack of family-friendly or work balance policies, lack of support from coworkers or management, job insecurity and dangerous working conditions.