CEO’s response to employee sparks conversation about mental health in the workplace

ANN ARBOR (WCMH) — A Michigan woman’s email to her coworkers has sparked a discussion about mental health in the workplace.

Madalyn Parker, 26, sent an email to her team at work two weeks ago and told them she would be taking a few days to focus on her mental health.

She told CNN she suffers from chronic anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I’m taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health,” her email said in part. “Hopefully, I’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%.”

She checked her email the next day and found a number of responses, but one stood out–a message from the company’s CEO, Ben Congleton, who said he wanted to personally thank her for her openness.

“I can’t believe this is not standard practice at all organizations,” Congleton wrote. “You are an example to all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work.”

Parker said she was “absolutely touched” by his message.

“It was surprising to be applauded for my vulnerability,” she told CNN.

Parker posted the exchange online, where many people who saw the email began a discussion about mental health in the workplace.

Congleton told CNN his advice to employers is to make sure employees feel safe talking about what bothers them.

“There’s this misconception that you can leave part of yourself home when you go to work,” he said to the network. “(But) some personal stuff is gonna hang in there and hold on.”

 

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