Twitter call for help results in backlash over depression at work

A simple Tweet goes viral.  Sounds familiar?  Last year, it was the message that broke the news of the raid on Bin Laden.  This is on a much smaller scale, but the message still got to the right people.

Roy has depression.  He asked for time off from work to attend counselling.  His boss told him she may need to fire him.  He put the news on Twitter.


He then posted a copy of the dismissal letter from his boss and explained about his depression.  his boss said that there was no room for passengers.

Ow.  Hurtful.  But not surprising in a small business which might be struggling to make enough money to survive this recession

The tweet went viral.  It was picked up by the telegraph and responded to by MP for Northamptonshire Louise Mensch

Roy’s followers leapt from 850 to over 3000.  He got legal advice and went shopping for clothes.

There are several comments under the telegraph article.  The comments seem to be 50:50 split in support of his plight and vilifying him for causing undue stress on a small business.  A small business would find it incredibly hard to cope with an employee who was off work for an extended period of time.  Their absence would impact them financially and impact their productivity.

I’m sure that there are a lot of people who have been stressed by their job, have been intimidated by bullying bosses, or felt anxious about their work or tasks. Poor work practices can make people dread going into work. Large and small businesses can make unreasonable demands on their employees which results in sickness.

Until you have had depression, It’s really hard to understand how it feels. 

It’s distressing to watch a colleague slide down into despair, and know that the best solution would be to totally change their situation at work.

It’s hard as a boss, asking the remainder of your team to take on extra work whilst you support the person who is away from work.

It’s hard as a friend not to offer advice and well-meant help

It’s also hard, not to ask your friends on Twitter to give you some support and make you feel better when you’re feeling down, because your job isn’t turning out the way you want it to.

But on balance, will the message on Twitter, really bring you the long term results you wanted?

Often not.  Unfortunately…

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.