CEO who advocated for Mental Health Days explains why they’re so important

“It’s 2017 and Mental Health is still a problem at work.”

With those words, Olark CEO Ben Congleton went on to powerfully and publicly address a generally ignored problem in the workplace: the significance of psychological health.

Following Congleton’s employee, web developer Madalyn Parker, shared with the understanding email he sent after learning she’d taken off time for mental health reasons, the CEO utilized his recently viral voice to further explain exactly how important it is for companies to take the mental health seriously and also make time to mentally refresh.

Parker’s tweet revealed the CEO thanking her for informs the company that using sick days to emotionally recuperate ought to be standard practice in all offices, but his reply to the problem went beyond an email.

Following the positive response Parker’s tweet received, Congleton wrote a article on Medium further discussing the need to normalize mental wellbeing as a “normal health problem,” especially at the workplace.

“It is incredibly difficult to tell the truth about mental wellbeing in the normal workplace. In situations like this, it is so simple to tell your teammates you are ‘not feeling well,'” Congleton wrote. “Even in the most secure environment it is still uncommon to become direct with your colleagues about mental health difficulties.”

Congleton said that he was inspired to delve deeper into advocating for those struggling with or afraid to talk about mental health problems in the workplace after the tweet went viral and that he started reading responses from other people.

“There were so many stories of people wishing they worked at a location where their own CEO cared for their wellbeing, so a lot of people congratulating me doing such a fantastic thing,” he wrote in the blog article, explaining that in 2017, we still have a lot of work to do in order to fight mental health stigmas on the planet.

In an interview with Time Cash on Tuesday, that the CEO expanded on the potentially tumultuous consequences that can result from common reluctance and the way that it’s time to openly welcome discussion and approval of mental illness. “We assembled this business with this culture of where this sort of talk is not any big deal,” Congleton said. “So many people reside in fear of disclosing mental health problems at work. In many ways, that fear makes those mental health problems worse.”

Congleton also expressed a belief that not only is a focus on the value of psychological health beneficial to the wellness of people, but reassuring a compassionate environment has the capability to boost overall performance at work. And Twitter users that found themselves in similar situations as Parker continued commended Congleton’s compassion and genuine display of concern.

Calling all managers

Following Mashable‘s post about Parker’s tweet captured the eye of Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg, she commended Congleton’s compassion and encouraging manner of leadership to her more than one million Facebook followers.

Humbled, the Olark CEO responded to her message with a blunt, no-nonsense reminder for all of the managers out there.

“As leaders it is our obligation to assist our teams maximize their functionality. This isn’t controversial,” he said in relation to the topic of mental wellbeing. “I believe that basically team functionality is built on trust created via the liberty to become exposed.”

You tell ’em, Congleton.

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