This CEO is taking a stand against mental health stigma at work

  • 12/07/2017
Ms Parker was pleasantly surprised by her CEO's response.
Ms Parker was pleasantly surprised by her CEO's response. Photo credit: Twitter/ Madalyn Parker

When a web developer in the United States took two days off for her mental health, her CEO's response went viral.

Madalyn Parker sent an email to her company telling them: "I'm taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health. Hopefully I'll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%"

She was shocked when her CEO responded, thanking her for setting an example about the importance of taking sick days for mental health.

"I can't believe this is not a 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," CEO Ben Congleton said.

Ms Parker tweeted his response, which quickly got tens of thousands of shares online.

Mr Congleton has since spoken out, saying "It is incredibly hard to be honest about mental health in the typical workplace." He said it's too easy for people to hide their mental health and to simply say that they're "not feeling well".  

He said mental health should be treated in the same way as physical health at work.

"When an athlete is injured they sit on the bench and recover. Let's get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different."

According to the Mental Health Foundation, 14.3 percent of New Zealand adults have been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives and 6.1 percent have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders.