How to Look After Men’s Mental Health In The Workplace

it's movember, a time many get together to support men's health

Here's how you can support your male colleagues' mental health... 

It’s November, which means it’s also Movember, a time for many to grow a moustache to help support men’s health, from mental health to cancer.

According to research from Towergate Health and Protection men are half as likely to reach out for workplace emotional support compared to women. Yet, two in five men (43%) admit to regularly feeling worried or low (Mind).

There is more that we can all be doing, as employees and employers, to support men’s mental health this month and beyond.

“Pressure for me to be masculine started at a young age with my family and carried on when I went school and then work… I was always told to ‘man up’.”

A participant in a focus group for Mind - Get it off Your Chest, Men's Mental Health 10 Years On study

Here’s how you can support your male employees with their mental health…

What’s Impacting Men’s Mental Health:

There are many things impacting everyone’s mental health currently, including social anxiety from returning to work, social isolation from remote working and winter and SAD. But, more generally here are some things that might be impacting your male colleagues:

Societal pressure: there’s still an expectation for men to provide for themselves and their families and any issues with their mental health could be seen as them being weak.

Their work: according to Mind 32% of men have had a mental health problem, or poor mental health as a result of their job. Plus, 66% of men suffer from work-related stress, with 13% saying it’s unmanageable but only 12% have spoken to a professional about it (Cigna)

Difficulty to open up: Between phrases like ‘man up’ and a stigma around mental health make it difficult for men to open up when they’re experiencing issues. This is because of assumptions around mental health and what it means to take time off work and men can be working in industries with a ‘macho culture’ and a competitive environment.

Why you should take action to look after men’s mental health in the workplace:

As well as being the right thing to do, there are many benefits to looking after your employees’ wellbeing. Here’s just a few:

  • Introducing wellbeing support can improve your employee engagement, performance and productivity levels and lower your sickness and absence levels.
  • It can help you address the War for Talent, as a well-rounded employee wellbeing strategy will help you to stand out from your competitors
  • Mental health support can help you retain your top talent. According to CV Library, 61% of men want to quit their job because it’s affecting their mental health.
  • You will also save money! Poor mental health costs UK employers up to £45 billion each year (Deloitte).

Could UK businesses be doing more?

Many organisations have been introducing more wellbeing initiatives in the last year, whether that’s introducing an Employee Assistance Programme or hosting online fitness classes. But are UK businesses doing enough?

According to Koa, half of UK organisations surveyed said they had seen an increase in employee demand for support with mental health, yet 43% said it wasn’t a cultural priority. Plus, 61% of men said they feel like they can’t discuss their mental health problems with their boss because they feel like their professional abilities would be questioned, their boss wouldn’t understand or their employer would judge them (CV Library)

So there’s clearly more that employers need to be doing to support their employees.

How to support men’s mental health at work:

Focus on prevention:

Creating shared groups like running, volunteering or even art to encourage friendships between your male colleagues and create a safe space to share their problems without any pressure.

Tailor communications:

Whether it’s emails, newsletter or posters, you should target your communications to your male colleagues about their health and wellbeing. You could make use of relevant events like International Men’s Day to start the conversation.

Create safe spaces:

From forums to Team’s channels, create a safe space for your colleagues to talk about their mental health so they don’t feel alone in their experiences.

Have a top down approach:

Having your CEOs and managers being open about their mental health issues will help your teams feel like they can be open too. For International Men’s Day, we’re hosting two talk together sessions with two of our male senior leaders, so they can talk about their mental health and allow other colleagues to raise it too.

Offer an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP):

An EAP gives your teams access to free, confidential mental health support 24/7, 365 days a year through counsellors. Also, highlight low stigma uses of EAPs like support with finances to make it easier for men to feel like they’re able to reach out for support.

Signpost to other places employees’ can go for support:

There are many places your teams can go for support, here’s just a few suggestions:

  • The Samirtans (116 123) is a charity that offer confidential support that people can phone 24/7 for those who need help or feeling distresses
  • Mind (0300 123 3393) can offer advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem

How we can help:

We can help you tailor an employee benefits strategy that can support your employees’ mental, physical and financial wellbeing this winter and beyond. 

We can help you create a comprehensive employee benefits strategy that supports your employees’ wellbeing. Speak to our experts today to  to find out more.

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