The year is 2017 and it seems society is finally acknowledging the importance and benefits of having strong mental health. We all read about it, from the memes to the simple yet powerful message Madelyn Parker sent her team saying:
Hey team! I’m taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health. Hopefully i’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%. Thanks - Madalyn
Her reasoning for the message? She needed the time off to focus on her well-being, which was being stretched very thin at the time. She told CNN, "I had experienced several nights of insomnia and was poorly rested and also having lots of suicidal thoughts, which make it difficult to accomplish much at work.”
The following response from her boss is what makes this story even more awesome.
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.
Its true, using sick days is not standard practice at all organizations, therefore why should employers care? Mental health is important to both employees and employers. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services estimates that only 17% of the U.S population is functioning at optimal mental health and 1 in 5 people experience a diagnosable mental health condition at any given time.
The Center for Prevention and Health estimates mental illness and substance abuse issues cost employers up to $105 billion annually. Reduced productivity, absenteeism and increased healthcare costs are just a few of the ways mental health issues cost employers money.
Fortunately, stories like the one of Madelyn Parker go viral as a way to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health. If we continue to bring awareness to this issue, we further reduce the stigma and can remember to take a day every one in a while to build mental strength and improve mental health.