Female employees are twice as likely to access mental health support in comparison to male colleagues (Champion Health: The Workplace Health Report 2023). With this in mind, Melissa Day, Therapist and Suicide First Aid Tutor, suggests eight ways that firms can encourage their male employees, to seek help for their mental health.
Ensure that the space you create is one of safety, confidentiality, and non-judgement – and that there is complete privacy. Make sure that you come across as being reachable, attainable and that you have time to listen, despite your role and commitments – and that your manner is approachable and kind to engage in meaningful dialogue.
Lead by example
If we see evidence of employers applying a proactive approach of including rest and recovery into their daily routines, this provides a template for employees to follow and thus encourages men to seek help for their mental health should they need it. Make a priority to have well-being conversations, that talk about burnout in-depth. Opening this discussion will encourage employees to identify symptoms and provides the opportunity for anyone to talk about challenges they may be facing.
No reprisal policy
It’s paramount that employees understand that your company has a “no reprisal policy”, when it comes to speaking about work-related struggles. The prominent factor responsible for mental destress, is unmanageable workloads. It’s therefore of high importance to organise regular check-ins.
Make it clear what additional support is available, such as traditional helplines, text support and free 24/7 mental health support and that you are in a position to help signpost. This provides employees with a choice to access support, if they wish to. By creating opportunity, demonstrates that mental health is embedded, at the core of your company values.
Suicide First Aid Training & First Steps to Counselling Skills
Undertaking a qualification in Suicide First Aid, is a proactive way for employers to learn more about the topic and be in a better position to offer support: able to identify signs that someone in the workplace is in crisis or understand what use of language and terminology is helpful, to say to someone who may have suicidal ideation or for someone bereaved through suicide. Ensure you include education about suicide, into your well-being conversations.
Making your support visible within the office environment, makes the subject of mental health less stigmatised and taboo and more normalised. Show all services available. Provide well-being credentials of each employer, such as training undertaken.
Special guest speakers
Hearing people’s first-hand experiences with mental health, can be a powerful way to encourage and open up dialogue. Stories are a way to share information to create emotional connection and bring people together. After the talk, open the space to invite questions.
Feeling a sense of inclusion, connection and belonging with fellow employees – feeling part of a team – as well as supported by companies, is imperative for psychological well-being. In turn this positively contributes towards productivity and job satisfaction. Did you know that there’s a connection between perceived psychosocial stress in the workplace and heart attacks? Psychosocial stress is related to circumstances, where we don’t feel as if we belong, that we’re not good enough and also feel excluded. In fact, clinical investigation reveals that heart attacks, are statistically more likely to happen on a Monday. This data highlights the stark reality, of the impact of our mental well-being, on our physical health and that as a species, our survival is reliant on connection with others.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.