Supporting men’s mental health in the workplace
Over the last 2 years, the pandemic has undeniably created numerous challenges for us all to manage and overcome:
Working or managing people remotely,
Working with a partner or housemates at home,
New routines and priorities.
All of this and more has put pressure on our mental health.
The latest research suggests one in eight men has a common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). And with three times as many men as women dying by suicide, improving men's mental health has its own unique challenges.
A recent positive development I've seen in the client organisations we partner with at Work Pirates is a new openness in discussing and sharing how we are really coping.
There's no doubt we're in a period of change; people are more open about their mental health and well-being, and the door is open for businesses and organisations to step up and take the lead in supporting men's mental health.
You might have already built into your diaries time to speak to your people. Whether this is a daily morning check-in or something more formal such as a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly review. Group check-ins have their value, and 121 sessions shouldn't be overlooked.
This way of checking in allows an opportunity to evaluate task progress and overall performance and show genuine compassion. How much more engaged and wanting to show up each day would you be if you felt heard and valued? This building of trust may also uncover the need for further support.
Uncover & Use Strengths
This one might sound obvious, but it doesn't always happen at work. Often, we're too focused on identifying weaknesses and improving on them. But we say a strengths-based approach is much better for people, teams, and businesses overall.
The trick is to understand everyone’s strengths and talents, then help each person actively use them in their work every day.
Gallup® shows that people working in a strengths-based culture are:
six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs,
7.8% more productive in their role, and
3x as likely to report an excellent quality of life.
Basically, find out what people are great at and give them plenty of opportunities to be great!
Offer Counselling Support
I'm a firm believer that when people are supported, they do their best for you. We all have phases in life that will challenge our mental health. More and more companies are taking additional steps to offer professional counselling support. This is an investment in your people at a time of need.
In my experience, men are typically more guarded and less likely to reach out and ask for help when it's needed. And NHS data seems to back this up, men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women: only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men.
This confidential support from an experienced counsellor, who crucially is external to your business, could be precisely what your team needs.
From these 3 tips, what could you try in your organisation?