With one man in five dying before retirement age, Men’s Health Week highlights how men’s welfare shouldn’t be ignored or overlooked.
This can be an important time for men to assess their own health. It also provides us all with an opportunity to support male employees and colleagues, as well as friends and family, with their wellbeing.
Men's mental health statistics
With the data highlighting that some men take a less proactive approach to their health, it’s clear that more awareness and support are needed in workplace environments.
What can employees do if they're experiencing mental ill health?
Speak to someone you trust
It can be easy to bottle things up when we’re going through tough times. Telling someone how you feel is often the first step, but it can also be the hardest. Finding somebody you trust and are comfortable confiding in is key.
In the workplace, this could be your manager, a colleague, HR or a Mental Health First Aider or champion. If you’re able to disclose your feelings at work, your employer may be able to adjust your workload and/or working arrangements to support you and your mental health.
There are also charities you can reach out to. Samaritans has a 24/7 phone line available every day of the year, and Shout offers a free text service where you can message trained volunteers day or night
Understand what you need to stay well
Mental health is complex; what works for one person might not work for another. It is about finding what is right for you. This could be:
- An exercise routine – physical activity is well documented to positively affect our mood. The Mental Health Foundation has a helpful resource on how to look after your mental health using exercise
- Creating a wellness action plan – this is a tool we can all use to remind us of what keeps us well at work. Mind provides a wellness action plan guide to help you get started
- Limiting alcohol – As alcohol is a depressant, it can impact your thoughts, feelings and actions, the Mental Health Foundation states. If you’re struggling with alcohol, the charity provides guidance on alcohol and mental health. Drinkaware also lists support services you can access
- Undertaking a course – Sometimes, we may want or need to seek external support. Mental Health in Business has a 12-step programme that helps men take control of their lives. If you feel comfortable, you could ask your employer if they could fund training to support you and your health
Find a local support group
If you aren’t ready to open up at your job or need a space to share your thoughts and struggles outside of work, there are several men’s support groups across the UK:
What can employers do to support men's mental health?
Create an open and honest environment
As men are less likely to open up about their mental health, it’s important for employees to see male senior management and directors leading by example. This could be sharing their vulnerabilities in one-on-one settings or in small groups. They could then encourage other men to open up by asking ‘How are you?’ or ‘Are you ok?’.
You might want to introduce coffee or lunch clubs where your people can chat about anything that’s on their minds inside or outside of work in a relaxed, informal setting.
For more visible support, recording videos or podcasts or creating internal communications where men of all levels of the business can voice their stories, struggles and advice may help to break stigma. You could also signpost employees to internal and external sources that offer assistance.
Provide wellness-focused employee benefits
There are a variety of different benefits you can provide for your staff, including health insurance, employee assistance programmes (EAPs) and health cash plans.
You could provide access to wellbeing apps. With the majority of people owning a smartphone and the increase in remote and hybrid working, they are a quick, easy and convenient resource for employees.
There are mindfulness and meditation apps, such as Headspace and Calm. Alternatively, you could invest in an employee wellness app like Peppy, which provides your people with access to experts who can help them through some of the most underserved health journeys, including men’s health.
Peppy also provides a proactive toolkit for businesses, benefits teams and HR departments to take action around men’s health.
Introduce Men's Health Champions
Many companies are choosing to train their staff as Mental Health First aiders to support their people. If you’d like to help your male employees more specifically, Men’s Health Forum provides Men's Health Champions Training.
Men’s Health Forum states that Men’s Health Champions are “empathetic, good listeners, willing to talk about health and other difficult issues”. The charity says they “make a real difference” because they provide informal aid over formal healthcare, which may feel intimidating.
Speak to Search
At Search, one of our core values is providing a collaborative approach for both businesses and job seekers.
If you’re a candidate and you feel your mental health is preventing you from job hunting effectively or you’re struggling in your current position, you can trust in Search. Get in touch with our team today for a confidential conversation to see how we can help you find a new role.
For employers, our assistance doesn't end after we’ve placed a candidate within your business. It's an ongoing partnership. We can take care of your whole recruitment lifecycle, from start to finish, to support your existing staff, new employees and your business goals. To find out more, please fill in your details here or speak to your local Search office.