Our clients ask us all the time about what we can do to support Men in the workplace. It’s not just about paying lip-service to this issue by putting up a poster for International Men’s Day in the UK (Sunday 19 November). Whilst this has grown in popularity over the past decade, employers can use this as a reason to hold wellbeing events and activities for male members of staff in all their diversity.
With one in five men dying before retirement age, and some men taking a less proactive approach to their health, it’s clear that more awareness and support are needed in workplace environments. As an employer you have a duty of care to ensure support and advice is easily obtainable at work. Our latest article looks at men’s mental health in the workplace, and what you can do to support, assist and encourage.
Men’s mental health statistics
- Men are 32% less likely to visit the doctor, particularly during working age
- Almost three quarters (74%) of suicides in the UK are male
- 40% of men have never spoken about their mental health with anyone
- 29% say they’re “too embarrassed” to talk, and 20% feel there is a “negative stigma” around speaking out
- 32% of men said work pressure and 31% cited financial problems to be the largest causes of their mental health issues
An open workplace atmosphere where communication around important issues is welcomed is key to reducing male mental health stigma. A great way to encourage this supportive workplace atmosphere is to offer an employee wellbeing service. Implementing this will give male staff the opportunity to seek guidance from professionals in a supportive and confidential environment.
Support men’s awareness events
A great way to build an open workplace is to encourage your staff to join in with supportive men’s awareness events. Examples of these are Men’s Health Week and Movember, a charity fundraising event held every November. This raises the importance of early detection of testicular cancer and increased awareness of good health and wellbeing. By showing that your workplace supports these causes will indicate that it is an environment that cares about male wellbeing, and will also help to build trust between colleagues, making it easier to discuss any issues they may be facing.
There is a vast significance in mental health coping strategies between men and women. Men are more likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol and present with non-conforming mental health symptoms, such as irritability and aggressive behaviour and these behaviours may mask symptoms typically associated with and used to diagnose mental health conditions like depression. To ensure no one slips through the cracks, you may want to offer line managers training to recognise signs of mental ill health and tips on how to best offer assistance.
Whether it’s on the notice board in the corridor, via a staff email or through charity events, take every opportunity to signpost men to trusted sources of help and information on male health. This might include raising awareness in your team meetings and encouraging the use of Employee Assistance Programmes, access to Mind or Samaritans – or other men’s charities that they can access local to your area.
We need to start and encourage men to open up, share and communicate within our everyday cultures by acknowledging and addressing the specific health needs – mental and physical for men, in our workplaces. We should foster a culture of understanding, compassion, and resilience for all employees – regardless of gender and sex.
We have many inclusive ideas and strategies to assist you in making men’s health issues the expected norm, rather than the exception. For further information and support, please contact us here.