This month, men across the world grow moustaches to raise awareness of men’s issues, including mental health, where it’s clear more support is needed.
According to statistics from the Mental Health Foundation, around 1 in 8 men suffer from common mental health problems. Men are around three times more likely than women to die by suicide – and men aged 40 – 49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK. In real terms, for employers, this means men in senior positions are likely to be struggling with mental health issues requiring urgent intervention. It’s no secret that a big part of this is because men aren’t talking about their mental health. As they are less likely to engage with mental health services, they may not recognise symptoms in their friends, relatives, or themselves. This is where employers have room to step in.
Organisations should take an active role in supporting men’s health – this includes educating your workforce about male mental health, training your managers to help spot warning signs, and signposting to appropriate support systems for when men do reach out. Other tips on boosting men’s mental health in the workplace include:
Call out gender-based microaggressions
What may seem like a jokey ‘man up’ between friends, is actually a thoughtless phrase. Comments like this increase the already intense pressure for men to behave in a certain way. We need to recognise the impact these words can have, and ensure employees feel safe enough to speak up when things aren’t right.
The news impacts everyone – even men
The recent news and statistics released about violence against women in the UK have been distressing for everyone. It’s important that we recognise the psychological impact it has on men as well as women; men worry about their wives, daughters or sisters getting home safely. We must recognise that these feelings in reaction to statistics and what we seen in the news are valid for all genders.
Pick up the phone
A colleague or manager gone a bit quiet, or dropping the ball on things? These may be things that are absolutely nothing – but they might be something. If ever in doubt, pick up the phone and check in.
Some of the ways you can help to combat men’s mental health in the workplace is to ensure all of your managers are trained in spotting mental health issues. advo can help with conducting such training. We can also help with employee wellbeing provisions targeted toward men, such as employee assistance programmes.
Over the course of the pandemic, many of us have suffered from complications with mental health, whether that’s seeing a loved one go through it, or experiencing it first-hand. One of the most valuable things we can do is improve communication with one another. During challenging times, one of the most important things you can do is simply let a colleague, manager or friend know you are there for them. After all, as Robin Williams once said “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”