According to Men’s Health Forum, over 190,000 men a year in the UK (an average of 1.2% of men in work over a 12 months period) report stress, depression or anxiety that is caused or exacerbated by work.
Suffering from a mental health issue can leave men feeling unmotivated, stressed and anxious and as a result, their work and productivity may be affected. As well as having support from your employer to take care of your mental health at work, it’s important to feel that your workplace is cultivating an environment in which you feel safe.
Key questions to ask about your workplace
1. Do they provide mental health awareness training to both managers and employees to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health?
Maybe you’re working overtime, have an unhealthy work/life balance or feel pressured to constantly be busy to succeed. This ‘busy’ culture can contribute to anxiety, stress or burnout in men.
Learning and talking about mental wellbeing with colleagues and managers can help to combat the constant need to prove your worth by working too much. You could find out if your workplace has any mental health awareness sessions and sign up.
2. Do you have regular conversations with your manager about your workload to identify any potential stressors and prevent these from affecting you?
Having regular one-to-one meetings with your manager provides you with a chance to open up about how you’re feeling at work. A survey of 15,000 employees across 30 organisations carried out by Mind shows that men are twice as likely to have mental health problems due to their job, compared to problems outside of work. The research also suggested that women are more likely to open up and seek support from their line manager or employer.
Discussing and prioritising your task list and identifying potential overload can really help to alleviate some of the stress or burnout you may be experiencing.
Financial stresses can have a huge impact on men, especially if they have the added pressure of providing for a family. Your manager should be able to signpost you to access support. When was the last time you had a one-to-one with your manager? Perhaps it’s time to put one in the diary.
3. Is a work/life balance promoted with flexible working and paid leave (including paternity leave)?
Work/life balance is an important part of good mental health. There may be opportunities to request flexible working hours which allow employees to adapt their start and finish times. This is great if you’re a father who needs to drop your children off at school or collect them at the end of the day.
Does your role allow you to work from home? Does your organisation have a policy on paid paternity leave? If you’re unsure whether you have these benefits, ask your line manager or HR department.
4. Would you know where to access confidential mental health support services such as Employee Assistance Programmes or signposting to external resources?
At Benenden Hospital, all our employees have access to a free, independent, confidential counselling and advice helpline from Vita Health so they can feel supported at work and at home.
Our staff have Benenden Health Membership which offers a wide range of benefits, discounts and activities. Benenden Health members have access to a 24/7 Mental Health Helpline, which is available from the day they join. You can talk about problems such as anxiety, depression, bereavement or relationship problems.
5. Are there opportunities for team-building exercises, social activities and networking events?
In certain work environments, male employees may find it harder to build strong social connections, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can negatively affect mental health. This may have been exacerbated by working remotely since the pandemic, as social contact with colleagues may now be more commonly online.
Attending a team-building exercise, a training course, or a networking event may help to improve your feelings of isolation and help you to feel more connected at work.
6. Are there any male role models in your workplace who openly discuss important topics such as mental health who lead by example?
According to Croner, the most male dominated industries in the UK include agriculture, forestry and fishing, construction, financial & insurance activities, information and communication, manufacturing, mining, energy and water supply and transport and storage.
If most of your colleagues are men, how often do they express their emotions? Or has your manager ever encouraged you to communicate about your mental health? Seeking a male role model who you trust and can confide in may positively impact your wellbeing at work.
7. Does the nature of your profession increase potential stressors?
Some careers are high-pressure, demanding and expose you to traumatic situations and these roles may increase your exposure to stress. This can impact your mental wellbeing and it’s important that you’re able to ask for, and access, support.
Help and support for male health issues at Benenden Hospital
Everyone deals differently with mental health issues but it’s important to know where to get help if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression relating to your workplace. Our Private GPs can also discuss any concerns you have about your mental or physical health, including stress and anxiety. Book your 25-minute appointment for £100 today.
Published on 29 August 2023