Mental health day tweet stirs debate on social media

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(Source: @madalynrose via Twitter) (Source: @madalynrose via Twitter)

It's the hot topic blowing up on social media.

A Michigan woman tweeted about taking a mental health day and how her boss was all for it.

Madalyn Parker tweeted the email she sent to her team and his response.

"I'm taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health," she wrote in her email. "Hopefully, I'll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%."

"I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this," Parker's boss, Ben Congleton, replied. "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."

More than 15,000 people have retweeted the tweet, more than 42,000 have liked it and hundreds are responding with their own stories - both positive and negative.

Megan Simoes is director of web development for the James Agency in Scottsdale.

Simoes thinks mental health days are needed every now and then.

"We work with a lot of different clients and different technologies," Simoes said. "There are several times that it gets stressful, and I just need to take a step back."

Simoes feels fortunate she works for a company that encourages employees to take a break from work when they need it.

James Agency CEO Veronique James wants her employees to be at their best, so she's not opposed to staff members taking a mental health day when necessary.

"If you're not 100 percent, our work will suffer," James said. "Our clients will feel it. The team will feel it. It's important to blow the whistle on yourself when you're feeling that decline from a mental capacity."

But not all businesses are that accommodating with supervisors often questioning their employees' work ethics or motives.

Valley psychologist Melissa Estavillo said there has long been a social stigma attached to workers who request a mental health day from their employer.

According to Estavillo, taking a mental break away from work is no different from staying home with the flu.

"It's a whole mind-body experience, and all of it interplays together," said Estavillo. "I don't think we can very well say, 'It's a cold', versus, 'It's stress.' These things are together and should be viewed as sick days."

Worker advocates suggest employees talk to their bosses ahead of time about using sick time if they need a mental health day.

 Employees need to know they won't be judged or looked at differently if they need time away from work.

[FROM TWITTER: @madalynrose struck a chord with her tweet about taking a mental health day]

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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