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When Madalyn Rose Parker tweeted a screenshot of an email exchange with her boss a couple of weeks ago, she didn’t expect it to go viral.
“I’m taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health,” Parker, who’s a web developer at the software company Olark, informed her team. “Hopefully I’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%.”
Indeed, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates that one in five U.S. adults experience a mental illness and a little over 18% (42 million) live with anxiety disorders. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. For comparison, one in five people in the U.S. have either allergy or asthma symptoms, and four million workdays are lost each year as a result of hay fever.
- Create a sense of security
- Trust your people
- Speak openly about all medical conditions
- Stop tying PTO to lack of productivity
If an employee is working at 50% or 30% capacity because they’re on the verge of burnout, Congleton muses, why not let them “take a day and come back refreshed?” Too many companies don’t do that, he suggests, because they still think of mental health days as extra vacation time.