Men working together

Men’s Mental Health… the importance of permission

22 November 2023

Like International Women’s Day, International Men’s Day 2023 aims to bring the themes and issues that impact men to the forefront of our minds. The 2023 theme for International Women’s Day was ‘Equity’, something women are still striving for in the workplace. For men, the tone is different, focusing on men’s mental health. Why? Because men need us to shout about it, to emphasise that it’s OK to talk about it. Using insights shared with Pluxee UK by SAS He Who Dare’s Wins’, Colin Maclachlan, we’ll explore how employers can break the stigma in their workplace.

The theme for International Men’s Day 2023 is ‘Zero Male Suicide.’ It doesn’t offer any sugarcoating, and there’s a good reason why – men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women.


Other statistics from the Priory Group report that:


  • 40% of men have never spoken to anyone about their mental health.

  • 29% of those who haven't done so say they are "too embarrassed."

  • 20% say there is a "negative stigma."


Figures like these, explaining why men are less likely to seek help for mental health concerns, are the reasons for the higher rates of suicide – men are less likely seek the support they need before or when they reach a crisis point.


Breaking the stigma


At Pluxee UK, we live and breathe employee wellbeing, understanding that it starts with us. That’s why, as part of our internal wellbeing initiatives, we invited Colin Maclachlan to our office to share his insights on men’s mental health.


Our Pluxeers got a lot more than they bargained for, a deep look into Colin’s former life in the SAS and his childhood trauma. Colin used the word ‘perspective’ quite often, and that’s something our colleagues most certainly left his session with.


A problem shared is a problem halved. It’s a statement we’re all familiar with, yet as we know from the numbers, men are less likely to share what’s on their minds.


Colin had one clear message to offer: give yourself permission to talk.


Pluxee Burnout Guide


The importance of buddies


Beyond taking that initial step to open up, Colin explained how, for men especially, it’s important to talk to people who “speak the same language.”


The only people who understood what Colin went through in the SAS were those who were by his side, walking in his shoes – his buddies. The concept of buddies is essential - giving men the opportunity to speak to others who perform the same roles and tasks so they can truly understand and appreciate their concerns.


Colin talked about pairing firefighters with firefighters and paramedics with paramedics, and we can apply this to all workplaces.


Have you considered creating a network in your business, where team leaders can decompress and share in a safe space with those performing the same tasks? It’s a concept that we can easily apply to all roles within an organisation.


What’s required is adopting mental wellbeing within our workplace culture, creating opportunities, and leading by example. Through continuous, effective communication and the sharing of resources, we can remove the barriers and stigma that prevent men from speaking up.


Unleash your superpower!


In the words of Colin Maclachlan, we all have one superpower… resilience. Using the example of a baby learning to walk, Colin explained how we’re all born with resilience. We take a step, fall, get back up and try again until we succeed.


The same is true for your employees. It’s just that the challenges change, as do our levels of resilience, since other aspects of our lives impact them. Sometimes, our resilience may be low, when we’re not OK, and need extra help. Then there will be times when our ‘pot is full’, and we're able to tap into our stores and keep going.


It’s not about being weak or strong. It’s about resilience and the level your employees are operating at during any given time.


Nurturing mental resilience with Pluxee UK


As one of our Mental Health First Aiders, suggests, it’s essential to keep active. 


“Mental and physical health go hand in hand so looking after both is essential.” Bhupinder Dhillon


42% of Britons have cancelled their gym membership during the cost-of-living crisis to reduce their ‘non-essential’ outgoings (YouGov).


Exercise is a mental outlet, a stress reliever, and reducing or cutting it from our lives impacts our mental wellbeing.


You can make exercise affordable again!


Embed our inclusive and personalised Gym and Fitness Discounts into your employee benefits offering, and your employees can enjoy up to 25% off membership with gyms, bootcamps, and digital fitness programmes.


Colin reinforced the concept of a healthy outlet, which, as Bhupinder suggests, shouldn’t always involve alcohol since “hangovers can create negative emotions and disrupt your day.” Exercise, whether in a gym, a field or your living room, is a healthy way to decompress and relieve the tension from the day, with the bonus of increasing physical health.


Better physical health = increased mental resilience


A time to talk… whenever, wherever.


We’ve stumbled across a common theme – men will speak about personal matters when the time and circumstances are right for them.


You can ensure there will always be someone available to listen with our Employee Assistance Programme. Providing 24/7 access to BACP-accredited counsellors, 365 days a year, and crisis support at the touch of a button, it’s a mental wellbeing benefit that improves the mental resilience of your entire workforce.


We’ll be sharing tips from Bhupinder on men’s mental health all week, so be sure to follow our socials for more. If you’re ready to discover how partnering with Pluxee UK can enhance mental resilience within your business, request a call, and we’ll be in touch.




Priory Group