CEO Has 'Perfect' Response to Employee's Mental Health Day

Ben Congleton doesn't understand why more companies don't value mental health
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2017 4:40 PM CDT
CEO Has 'Perfect' Response to Employee's Mental Health Day
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / PeopleImages)

The internet is singing the praises of the CEO of Olark Live Chat for his response to an employee's "mental health day." Madalyn Parker, a web developer for the company, shared on Twitter on June 30 her email to her colleagues about taking two days off for her mental health—and CEO Ben Congleton's response, in which he thanked her for the email and said that he uses such notes "as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health—I can't believe this is not standard practice at all organisations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can bring our whole selves to work." The tweet got mixed reactions, but many of them were positive, with people sharing stories of companies that don't have the same attitude toward mental health days—and personal examples of why it's so important to change that. Parker herself has shared before about the struggle to balance mental health with work.

One person pointed out that "a day off now and then" for mental health might "save someone from being gone for weeks if not months." And after some users asked why Parker felt the need to make her private reasons for being out of the office public, she noted that she wanted her team to know they could also take sick leave for mental health reasons—even if they don't feel comfortable specifically explaining that's what they're doing. Inc. called Congleton's response to Parker "absolutely perfect," Elite Daily called it the "absolute best," USA Today went with "refreshingly rare," and the Huffington Post said it would "restore your faith in humanity." After Parker's tweet went viral, Congleton himself responded to it on Medium, writing, "It’s 2017. I cannot believe that it is still controversial to speak about mental health in the workplace when 1 in 6 Americans are medicated for mental health." (Consider rock climbing on your mental health day.)

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