Men are consistently less likely to seek medical treatment for medical problems than women. That’s because of a combination of things, like society’s idea that tells us that we should be strong, brave and never need to seek out help. 18% of men say that they are comfortable with openly discussing their feelings. These problems are then compounded by the systemic difficulties of making and attending appointments, and men’s continued embarrassment - even when they are in the consultation room.
To help safeguard the health of your workforce there are a number of things that you can do make your workplaces healthier places.
- Diet: Are you offering health foods as part of your on-site provision. Your employees are more likely to make bad eating choices when they are the only choices available. If you don’t have on-site provision then consider organising traders from local healthy catering firms to visit the office at lunchtime? Look at ways to support your employees to eat healthier.
- Outside activities: Teams work better when they share something together. Outside activities, like a sports team or activity, also make a clear statement of the importance you attach to a good work-life balance.
- Access to services: The research tells us that men are particularly stuck on being able to talk through health problems without embarrassment. And that men over 50 are more likely to run tight working schedules that make seeing a doctor difficult. You can counteract this by offering counselling access as part of your employee benefit package.
- Stress in the workplace: The final point is to carefully consider employee mental health when managing business workloads and priorities. This is an issue across the workforce, not just for men. It’s simply important for good employers to note that male employees are less likely to report mental health problems, but just as likely to struggle with them. We must successfully encourage men to talk about their mental health before they reach crisis point.
Mental health in the workplace
The priority here for employers should be that we can all talk about mental health in a way that does not make it feel like a personal attack. You could make it easier to discuss by instead talking about the idea of stress, not of a loss of control. It’s important for managers to be empowering. This allows people to feel they can take their own steps towards understanding situations, not be a “problem” to be dealt with.
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