It’s #MensHealthWeek and you guessed it – I am talking about Men’s Mental Health. Why is this important to me? Whilst Mental Health is something we all experience when it is stigmatised and conversations are not encouraged, it impacts my sons, Dad, husband, brother, nephew, uncles, colleagues and friends.
Not only this but according to the World Health Organisation, men account for a majority of suicide deaths, with suicide rates generally higher among men than women. In many countries, suicide is among the leading cause of death in young men.
Men are less likely to seek help for mental health challenges. Studies reveal that nearly half of men feel embarrassed about taking time off work for their mental wellbeing. NCBI
The workplace is so well positioned to promote and encourage these conversations. Creating an inclusive environment reduces stigma and supports the overall wellbeing of teams. How do we do this? How can we make our workplace initiatives appeal to men?
- Peer support and Role Models: Share stories of men who have openly discussed mental health challenges and how the sought help and support. Whether this is within your workplace or influential societal figures, their experiences can make people feel less isolated.
- Challenge your wellbeing initiative approach: Not all men want the traditional talk and webinar approach. Physical activities and challenges have proven to drive engagement. Conversely, an eLearning that can be accessed in one’s own time beneficial too.
- Practicalities: Involve your men in your initiative planning and development. This ensures you are considering their perspectives and needs.
- Challenge stereotypes the likes of “Man Up” and “Big Boys Don’t Cry”! Emphasize that seeking help is a sign of resilience and strength. Do this by promoting the idea that taking care of one’s mental health is essential for overall wellbeing.
- Promote emotional literacy: Dealing with feeling is fundamental to express and cope yet hardly a topic encouraged to learn especially amongst previous generations of men. Understanding and recognising emotions in oneself – so helpful to emphasize with others too.
Remember, embedding a culture where people feel supported and valued takes time, consistency, and perseverance. It also requires a collective effort by all the stakeholders in your organisation. Wishing you well as you promote openness, inclusivity and understanding.
Thanks for taking the time to read my article.