Looking after Men's Mental Health

Men’s Mental Health

Mental health deserves to be taken seriously for everyone, regardless of gender. However, today we’re focusing on the importance of mental wellbeing for our male family members, friends and colleagues. Despite our society becoming increasingly more tolerant, aware and accepting of one another’s differences, there are still huge improvements to be made in the realm of gender expectations to allow us to take meaningful steps to ensuring that our population is healthy and happy. In this piece, we’ll be looking at current attitudes to men’s mental health, the importance of men’s mental health, and what we can do to promote their wellbeing.

A Cultural Reset for Men's Mental Health

The stereotype of the strong, resilient male has contributed to a worrying culture of men’s mental health falling to the wayside. Oftentimes, despite the progression we’ve made in deconstructing gendered expectations, many men still feel pressured to be the breadwinners of their families, which in turn can exacerbate already intense pressures to perform at work and maintain a sense of resilience. Men may fear that their masculinity, and by default their identity, is threatened by expressing concerns over their mental health, leading to a population of men that suffer in silence.

This fear of openness has contributed to problems regarding attitudes to mental health, wherein men are more reluctant to speak to others about their current predicament either through feelings of fear, insecurity, or lack of awareness and resources. As a result, men are three times more likely to take their own lives when compared to women, making suicide the largest cause of death for males under 50. This worrying statistic is even worse for men in minority communities, including gay and BAME men, due to existing forms of discrimination which can further amplify feelings of depression and anxiety.

The Importance of Men's Mental Health

At Hope Health, we believe that mental wellbeing is a core facet of a productive and successful corporate culture. Even today, men still make up the majority of the workforce, making it important for employers to strongly consider men’s mental health to ensure a happy, healthy workforce. The World Health Organisation estimates that $1 trillion per year is lost by businesses for not taking adequate care of their employees mental health, with unsupportive managerial practices within corporate spaces exacerbating existing mental health disorders. This contributes to dips in productivity, unhealthy working environments, and weak employee retention.

The pandemic has shifted our attitudes regarding mental health, with the impact of quarantine being significant for both our physical and mental wellbeing as a nation. One third of British adults and young people expressed to mental health charity Mind that their psychological well-being suffered during the pandemic. Social distancing policies amplified our understanding of the importance of communication and connectivity for our mental health, and has reinforced the idea that mental and physical health are equally as vital for us to lead a healthy, happy life.

What can we do?

Upheaving behaviours that have been ingrained in our society for generations is no easy feat, but we can actively reach out to the men in our lives to offer a sincere helping hand without the need to feel embarrassed or burdensome. Men are far more likely to confide in their partners if they are experiencing wellbeing troubles. In this case, talk to your male partners and set aside time to talk about what’s on their mind – good or bad. Pay close attention to your male friends or co-workers, even if they appear to be doing well, and offer to set aside time for them to express their feelings in an environment that is comfortable and without judgement.

29% of men expressed embarrassment when confiding in others, making them far less likely to express their feelings and thoughts – this is precisely why awareness about the importance of men’s mental health is so vital. Although 77% of men have suffered some form of mental illness, the barriers that we’ve discussed above are a hindrance to raising awareness about men’s wellbeing by keeping the issues ‘hush hush’. Speaking openly about wellbeing allows us to spread the word that mental illness is not abnormal, and those that are suffering are certainly not alone. It is our job to educate ourselves on breaking down these barriers to seeking help by making wellbeing a priority for all, and as accessible as possible.

At Hope Health, we aim to provide you with the tools to help you, and those around you, take charge of your mental health. Our aim is to ensure that each and every workplace has access to premium mental health services through our Mental Health First Aider courses, therapy sessions, and Lunch & Learn meetings. What’s more, our services can be tailored to suit your needs, with both digital and in-person services being available. If you and your business are seeking better ways to safeguard the mental health of your teams then get in touch today, we'd love to help.

Nicole O'Callaghan

MHFA Adult & Youth Instructor BA Honours Business Keynote Speaker (PTSD, Stigma, Suicide, Resilience)
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