Meet the CEO Whose Comments About Mental Health in the Workplace Went Viral

Meet the CEO Whose Comments About Mental Health in the Workplace Went Viral

Meet the CEO Whose Comments About Mental Health in the Workplace Went Viral. When the CEO of the company, Ben Congleton, responded by thanking her for helping "cut through the stigma" of mental health, she shared his response on Twitter. The tweet, which has been retweeted more than 10,800 times since it was posted on June 30, has sparked discussions about the importance of understanding mental health in the workplace — and how using sick days to treat it can be helpful. In an interview with MONEY, Congleton, whose business provides live chat software to other companies to better interact with their costumers, said he was surprised by the reactions to Parker's tweet — mostly because valuing the mental health of his employees is just business as usual for him. "I think that that started normalizing mental health as an actual health issue within our organization." "So many people live in fear of disclosing mental health issues at work," he added. Mental illness is common among American adults, with one in five experiencing depression, anxiety or some other kind of mental or emotional disorder. The American Psychiatric Association provides materials for companies to understand mental health in the workplace, ranging from detailing how anxiety disorders are "not a sign of personal weakness" to reporting how 80% of employees treated for mental illness showed improved levels of work efficency. "Matt didn’t mention my performance at all," she wrote. Mental health disorders take a toll beyond the workplace environment, too.

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Madalyn Parker, a web developer at Olark Live Chat in Ann Arbor, Mich., recently emailed her colleagues to let them know she would be using two sick days to focus on her mental health.

When the CEO of the company, Ben Congleton, responded by thanking her for helping “cut through the stigma” of mental health, she shared his response on Twitter. And then it went viral.

The tweet, which has been retweeted more than 10,800 times since it was posted on June 30, has sparked discussions about the importance of understanding mental health in the workplace — and how using sick days to treat it can be helpful.

In an interview with MONEY, Congleton, whose business provides live chat software to other companies to better interact with their costumers, said he was surprised by the reactions to Parker’s tweet — mostly because valuing the mental health of his employees is just business as usual for him.

“I sort of felt like this was just something that should be normal,” Congleton said. “It’s just business as usual for us. This is not something new.”

In some responses to Parker’s tweet, Twitter users shared negative reactions to their requests for a mental health day including one where a woman said she left a job after “HR wanted to know in advance when I’d have a panic attack.”

“Mental health is health,” Parker wrote in response to a reply to her original tweet.

Congleton said Parker strongly advocates for mental health awareness within the company. In fact, she and several other colleagues shared their experiences and challenges with mental health in a joint session with the organization a few years ago…

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