Men’s mental health in the workplace is an underrepresented issue that demands attention. Mental health issues affect everyone in different ways, some more than others, yet men encounter unique hurdles and setbacks when it comes to seeking support and maintaining mental or emotional well-being during work. 

In fact, 1 in 4 men grapple with a mental health problem annually, and 1 in 6 contends with a common mental health issue like depression and anxiety. Despite this, male employees are less inclined to seek help compared to their female counterparts, a trend fueled by stigma and a dearth of mental health education.

To support men’s mental health in the workplace this Movember and onwards, we need to explore the factors shaping the unique narrative of men’s emotional well-being in employment—unveiling the influence of societal expectations, workplace pressures, and the weight of traditional masculine norms.

The Reasons Behind Poor Mental Health For Male Employees

Toxic Societal Expectations of Men

Undoubtedly, societal expectations and norms surrounding masculinity throw a tremendous shadow over the complex landscape of men’s mental health at work. Men often feel they are required to embody strength, stoicism and emotional resilience, which can establish barriers that prevent them from expressing their mental health.

Indeed, at a young age, men are frequently taught to suppress their feelings and adopt a ‘man up’ mentality that has negative implications in the future. This ideology can become a stumbling block, making it difficult for individuals to express their emotions and throwing them into emotional turmoil. It is critical to cultivate a workplace that embraces the full range of emotional well-being.

Frequent Work Stressors Can Lead to Burnout

Men often confront work environments with frequent high stakes, which along with high-performance expectations, can put a strain on their mental resilience. The unrelenting pressure to pursue goals, continuously develop skills and achieve combined with the looming fear of failure means that the workplace becomes a breeding ground for stress, anxiety and frequent burnout.

This is because stereotypes of traditional masculinity like independence, self-reliance and resilience can create a sense of isolation for men, preventing them from reaching out for help. Identifying these challenges and instating supportive strategies is paramount in organisations shifting the narrative to promote developed emotional intelligence.

Mental Health Amongst Mean is Still Stigmatised

Topics on mental health are still stigmatised, especially among men. There is a major yet irrational fear that seeking help for your mental health can be misconstrued as a display of weakness and vulnerability. This dissuades many male workers from seeking the support they require, whether through their workplace or even externally.

Conquering this fear of judgement by fostering a workplace culture that champions seeking help for mental health creates an environment where men feel at ease seeking the aid they need. Furthermore, mental health is a complicated topic and comprehending the reasons behind low mood amongst male workers including understanding how race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and socioeconomic background also play a pivotal role.

What Can Employers and Organisations Do to Support Men’s Mental Health?

Provide Flexible Resources to Manage Stress

Employers have a significant influence in fostering a healthy work-life balance by advocating for workers to have regular breaks, and firmly establishing boundaries between professional and personal lives. Organisations should focus on providing stress management resources like flexible work hours and creating easier access to counselling and mental health support.

Promote Effective Team Building Strategies

To improve the mental health of the workforce, employers need to realise that “team-building” is not just a corporate buzzword. Team-building activities can promote collaboration amongst male employees while mentorship programmes strengthen social connections. These initiatives are paramount because they help to create a secure support system for male employees where they feel that they can be open about their mental health challenges without judgment. It’s not just about work; it’s about building a community within the workplace.

Accommodate Individual Needs to Ease External Stress

Many men grapple with balancing professional and familial obligations as well as other personal commitments. But employers could provide certain flexibility like working from home for all employees or the liberty to take time off when life demands it. This not only alleviates stress but acts as a catalyst for an overarching sense of well-being. Employers can initiate this change by instituting policies that champion the integration of work and life, respecting and accommodating individual needs. It shows that the organisation acknowledges that employees are also people with lives outside of office walls with individual problems.

Evaluate Employees’ Stress and Workplace Satisfaction

At some point, everyone struggles to handle the weight of work-related stress, and men are no strangers to the toll this can have on your mental health. It’s imperative for employers to identify and tackle the key stressors that male employees may encounter within the workplace. This can include offering stress management techniques devised by mental health professionals and routinely evaluating workloads to guarantee they remain reasonable and manageable.

Promote a Healthier, Happier Work Environment

Workplace culture wields considerable influence over men’s mental health. Toxic work environments that promote excessive competition become breeding grounds for stress, anxiety, and burnout. Employers and organisations as a whole need to craft a positive workplace culture that champions communication and feedback, commemorating achievements and implementing useful strategies to navigate conflicts while nurturing collaboration.

Men’s Mental Health Matters, In and Outside of The Office

With these strategies and support systems, employers can weave a workplace culture where male workers can be involved in an organisation where they’re valued and supported when it comes to having their mental health prioritised. As it stands, 1 in 8 men in the UK will grapple with a mental health issue in their lifetime but the stark reality is that men are at a higher risk of suicide, specifically middle-aged men (45-49 years old). To reduce these concerning statistics, it is time to strive for a future where seeking help in the workplace is a norm and necessity, and where mental health is valued as much as physical health.

Jake Michael
Jake Michael
Writer at Maximillion | + posts

Jake Michael is a writer for Maximillion, one of the UK's longest-established events agencies, that has delivered successful events to over a quarter of a million guests.