Today marks the end of Men’s Health Week and men’s mental health in particular has become an increasingly important issue.
Covid-19 has already triggered a 25% increase in anxiety and depression across the world, and 822,000 people reported work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2020/2021, making it an even more pressing issue for businesses.
According to a Priory Group survey of 1,000 employed men, work is the biggest cause of mental health issues, accounting for nearly a third (32%) of cases, before finances (31%) or health (23%).
Yet more than a third of men (34%) still feel unable to open up about their health in the workplace, making them less likely to seek help early on.
This can have detrimental consequences on men’s health, happiness and their ability to work, and it’s arguably led to a silent epidemic.
Exacerbated by the NHS waiting lists, men’s mental health has become a crucial point for employers.
Providing accessible support
Since men find it hard to approach employers about their mental health, they are less likely to report an issue than women.
This carries a high personal cost but there is also a financial burden on employers, as someone who is unwell is often less productive and more prone to presenteeism and absenteeism.
Every year it is estimated that 70 million work days are lost due to poor mental health, costing employers £2.4bn each year.
There are several steps that employers can take to support men’s mental health in the workplace, including introducing tailored benefits from healthcare providers that promote wellbeing initiatives and mental health services.
We have found that men are more likely to seek support from online health services, than with more traditional face-to-face healthcare services.
This means that digital mental health check-ups, self-management strategies and remote support are a vital part of the mental health support employers can offer to their workforce.
Digital services have been found to be an effective method of delivering treatment safely.
Initiatives such as Men’s Health Week are also a good occasion to encourage employers to share the relevant information with staff about the services they have on hand, while also serving as an opportunity to create or develop a culture of openness about mental health in the business.
Offering regular updates on new features and processes available to employees is just one way to normalise the conversation around men’s mental health and encourage employees to flag issues as they arise.
Investing in prevention and proactivity
To support employers in creating a positive and healthy workplace culture for male staff, it’s also important to encourage strategies that are based on prevention, information and training.
Within the workplace structure, investing in managers, who are often the first port of call for employees, can help bridge the gap between staff, HR departments and healthcare services when it comes to sharing information.
Providing access to specific training, such as Mental Health First Aid, can help to better equip teams from within the organisations and extend support across all levels of the business.
Staff can then recognise signs of distress among colleagues early on and are able to direct those who need support to the right services.
Encouraging employers to invest in tailored mental health support can go a long way in fostering a more productive, dynamic, and healthy workforce, especially for male staff who are less likely to seek help.
It’s vital for employers to understand the benefit that efficient wellbeing initiatives can have on the business as a whole.