Men speak up regarding mental health concerns

David Price – CEO of Health Assured

October 06 2015

79% of management have reported an increase in the number of male employees citing stress and anxiety as reasons for absence. 77% of management feel unsure about how to approach and tackle the issue of male mental health. 71% of men wished they had come forwarded sooner about struggling with their mental health. 68% of male employees have been reduced to tears due to feeling stressed or anxious at work Health Assured questioned 944 respondents David Price, managing director of Health Assured, the health and wellbeing consultancy said today, “Mental health, particularly in the workplace, has had a longstanding stigma attached to it, whereby employees have felt unable or embarrassed to come forward and admit they are struggling with stress, anxiety or other mental health issues. Traditionally, women have been more forthcoming about their difficulties with mental health, but now it seems that men are starting to be more open and honest about how they are feeling at work. Whilst this should be a positive step towards eradicating the aforementioned stigma, the fact that men are only just starting to come forward may hide years of issues that could have been dealt much sooner during their earlier stages.” “Mental illness may not be as overtly obvious as a physical illness such as the common cold, but is nonetheless an important issue that should be tackled head on. Letting employees struggle at work is unacceptable, as employers have a responsibility to protect and safeguard the health and wellbeing of their staff. In this day and age no one should have to suffer in silence, mental health issues are something that a lot of people experience and if managed effectively can be prevented from escalating to a point where it becomes uncontrollable.” Price continues “I find it shocking that management are still unaware of how to deal with mental health concerns, particularly with male colleagues. The preconceived notion that men shouldn’t cry or display their emotions, or that we should feel uncomfortable when men do so, is archaic to say the least. Management should ensure that they create an open workplace culture when it comes to employee mental health to encourage members of staff to come forward and speak with them openly about any issues they are having both inside and outside of work that may affect their productivity during working hours.” “If employees feel uncomfortable talking with their management about health issues, the company should provide access to a telephone advice service for all employees to seek confidential and professional guidance on any issues they are facing including mental health concerns. In this situation where employees are feeling overwhelmed by things around them, providing them with some solace by reassuring them that help is at hand and they are not alone can make all the difference.” Price concludes “As men are starting to raise issues of mental health with their management, now is the time to take action and prevent male employees from reverting back into their shell and internalising any problems they are experiencing. The saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ couldn’t be more appropriate in this scenario, as keeping serious matters to ourselves can leave us as a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode. It is far healthier and beneficial to both employees and management to talk about mental health-related issues to prevent employees from reaching their boiling point and to minimise the level of absenteeism management experience as a consequence. It is crucial that management receive the training they require to effectively deal with employees suffering from mental health issues. Implementing workplace policies that are inclusive of employee mental health are vital to improving employee happiness and wellbeing. Understanding that men are just as vulnerable as women to stress, anxiety and other forms of poor mental health is the first step to fighting this battle, but encouraging men to share their problems, specifically in the workplace will help fortify the future of mental health awareness.”  

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