men doing stretches

Men's Health Week... the Role of EAP and Virtual GPs

12 June 2024

It’s Men’s Health Week. Join us in having the conversations that matter – even the hard ones. Please be aware that this blog will refer to topics discussed during our Men’s Health Podcast, including male suicide, and may be upsetting for some to read. We’re having these difficult conversations because they matter. Being open and honest is one of the most effective ways to break down the barriers and stigma that prevent many men from seeking the support they need. Read on and join us in making a difference during Men’s Health Week and beyond.

Listen to our podcast - The Conversations that Matter during Men’s Health Week and Beyond.

Pluxee UK’s Gyan Tayal and Doctor Care Anywhere’s Dr Tim Bray discuss men’s health holistically. Mental and physical health are connected - one impacts the other - so we must look at men’s health as a whole to understand how to provide the most effective treatments.

Prevention is better than cure. 

During this blog, we’ll elaborate on the conversations started during this podcast to help you create a culture of openness within your workplace, removing the taboo around men’s health to enable the men in your business to lead happy and healthy lives.

A review of the numbers

Why does Men’s Health Week exist?

There are many awareness days, weeks and months in the HR and wellbeing calendar, and they all serve a specific cause or purpose. Men’s Health Week is no different, and when we review some shocking statistics, it’s clear why men’s health needs targeted attention.

  • In 2022, the male suicide rate was 16.1 per 100,000 - 67% higher than female suicide rates in the same year (Samaritans). 
  • Less than one in 10 men will retire in good health (Financial Times).

These numbers are a dire reflection of men’s mental and physical health. One underlying cause for such higher rates of suicide is due to men seeking support less than women.

During the podcast, our virtual GP partner shared data supporting this disparity between men and women seeking medical support:

  • Virtual GP/ANP users: 54% women to 46% men.
  • The most significant difference is in the 18 - 29 age group, where 58.22% of women engage with the service compared to 41.78% of men.

There’s also a clear theme when we review the reasons why men are reaching out to their virtual GP service:

Physical health: Data from November 2023 - April 2024 shows that knee and back pain were the top two men’s health complaints in five out of six months.

Mental health: Anxiety is the second most common men’s mental health issue in five out of six months, and sleeping difficulties were listed in the top five every month.

While the data on virtual GP usage is split between mental and physical health, as we explored during the podcast, the two are interconnected.

Anxiety and stress can cause difficulty sleeping, but so can physical illness. Likewise, physical illness can cause anxiety, thus leading to poor sleeping, which, in turn, can exacerbate medical conditions. It’s all connected, so looking at men’s health holistically is essential.


black man in blue shirt smiling during a conversation with a black woman.


Prevention over cure... the role of Virtual GPs

We need to talk about men’s health in the workplace. Men do not seek support as readily as women, and this is a trend that’s been present for decades. The perception of strength, or ‘manning up’ and working through the pain prevalent in our society for generations, impacts men’s health today. A virtual GP service helps because it removes several barriers, including time and accessibility, and provides a level of anonymity they may not receive when they visit their local GP. 

Have you ever sat in the waiting room at your local surgery and seen someone you know? 

The smaller your community, the higher the chances of this happening, and for many, it’s a source of anxiety and embarrassment.

With a virtual GP, your employees can consult with a GP or Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) from their home, car or a quiet space at work when it’s convenient for them to do so.

Remove accessibility and stigma to men’s health support to enable them to get the help they need more quickly.

Breaking the stigma with EAP

Data shows that employees use virtual GP services to seek support for mental health concerns. This is an essential step to take, but it’s important to remember that a GP can only offer so much support before referring someone towards dedicated mental health support.

With our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), the moment you make the call, you’re on the path to mental health support. If an employee needs counselling, it can begin in a matter of days instead of weeks.

We often say that there’s a difference between EAP and effective EAP.

Embedding EAP as an employee benefit is becoming a hygiene factor. What makes an EAP offering effective is when managers and leaders use it to enhance a culture of wellbeing. For men’s health and men’s mental health, it calls for openness, honesty, and empathy from senior leaders within a business.

One in four people will experience a mental health problem each year (MIND). 

Low engagement with your EAP benefit isn’t a badge of honour. It’s a sign that there are barriers to employees seeking support. Break the stigma, normalising the behaviour of reaching out and asking for help.


Man doing stretches in a field


See the whole person... Manager training

We’ve broken physical and mental health out because, from an employee health perspective, they may ‘present’ with a physical problem first.

Is an employee talking to you about digestive issues? 

Stress can worsen IBS - be it personal stress or workplace stress - but often, especially with men’s health, they’re only focusing on the physical symptoms.

A virtual GP will dig a little deeper to get the whole picture, including lifestyle, before recommending a course of action, but as discussed in a podcast, managers need to know their people.

Get to know your people from a mental, physical and social aspect so you can identify when something is off.” Gyan Tayal, Conversations that Matter during Men’s Health Week and Beyond

Create a safe space where men feel comfortable discussing their health and empowered to seek the help they need. Be proactive. Encourage managers and leaders to identify changes in their colleague's behaviour - body language, energy, and mood.

Prioritise men’s health with Pluxee UK

Culture comes first when prioritising men’s health at work and beyond. Employee benefits like EAP and virtual GP services bring another level to your wellbeing initiatives, creating a preventative culture that demolishes barriers to effective support.

Arrange a call to discover how to enhance men’s health in your business today. 

test 6

Listen to our Men's Health Podcast!

Stigma shouldn't be a barrier to seeking support, but for some, it is. 

Let's make this International Men's Health Week the one that provokes change.



Is the service confidential? Yes. Our EAP service is 100% confidential. We provide usage data to employers to measure EAP usage, but we exclude personal.

What qualifications do EAP Counsellors have? Our Counsellors are BACP-accredited. Our information specialists are trained by the Citizens Advice Bureau and are all money-trained experts.

Will someone always be there to answer my employees’ calls? Yes. If an employee calls our EAP service when all the counsellors are busy, a trained call handler will assess the call and advise on the next steps for further support.

What benefits does telephone counselling offer my employees? Phone-based counselling puts your employees in control and ensures there’s support available 24/7. The level of service provided over the phone is of the same standard and quality offered face-to-face, but it saves employees the need to travel and helps them feel more confident.

Online GP: Our Virtual GP and digital healthcare platform

Is your virtual GP service part of the NHS? Online GP is a private medical service, but all virtual GPs and ANPs also work for the NHS and are GMC-regulated. At the beginning of your virtual GP appointment, your clinician or nurse will ask whether you want your notes to be shared with your local GP.

Can I get a virtual GP appointment on the same day? You can usually get an appointment on the same day, usually within four hours (subject to appointment availability).​​




Financial Times