Worrying trend | Men HALF as likely as women to access workplace mental health support

Men HALF as likely as women to access workplace mental health support

Worrying new stats show that men are half as likely to reach out for workplace emotional support compared to women.

The data, from Towergate Health and Protection, also shows that although women are more likely to suffer from mental health conditions, men are three times more likely to take their own life.

Brett Hill, Director at Towergate Health and Protection, notes that this patten could be exacerbated by an apparent reluctance to seek help.

He said: “It could well be that the fact that men are less likely to seek support may be the reason that they are more likely to die by suicide so we are urging employers to tackle the issue.”

What employers need to know about the latest mental health access report?

By seeing who was accessing Employee Assistance Programmes, Towergate were able to see that the main reasons employees reach out is to get help with anxiety and low mood.

It also shows that women are more likely to suffer from depression and reach out for help.

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As such, Hill believes employers need to target their support. “The task, therefore, is to make men more comfortable in asking for help when they need it,” he said.

How to make your male workforce more comfortable in accessing help?

There is a wide variety of different approaches out there, and most in HR will know that one-size-fits-all isn’t the way to go when it comes to the very individualized issue of mental health.

HR could specifically target communications at men to get them to reach out, piggyback on national awareness days relevant to men and create forums for men to discuss their issues.

It could also showcase the success of men who have reached out or create male champions and get leaders up to speed on how to support their workforce and teams.

Fujitsu’s manager-led approach

This is a tack that Fujitsu seem to have taken. When HR Grapevine spoke to Jason Fowler, HR Director & Head of HR Northern & Western Europe at Fujitsu Global, at the end of 220, he noted that managerial support had to change.

“In a traditional sense, managers were the allocator of work but that has altered during lockdown,” he explained.

“Now, managers genuinely and sincerely have to think about the care they’re giving to their team and have to want to know and care about how they’re feeling. They’re there to coax, coach and guide.”

Ocado’s ‘understanding’ support

Yet, it won’t be easy. In another recent interview with Arti Kashyap-Aynsley, who is the new Global Head of Health and Wellbeing at Ocado Group, HR Grapevine were able to learn that for HR to successully reach out to groups who might not be engaged with wellbeing support, they properly have to understand the demographics they work with.

She explained that with many Ocado employees out and about, wellbeing connections looks different for this cohort, adding: “for our drivers, they are often on the road – and shifts vary in terms of times and lengths – and they’re so focussed on customer delivery and customer experience that they don’t necessarily take care of themselves.”

She concluded: “I think there’s this element of really understanding your demographic.

It's a lesson that HR could take on board in order to close the worrying stat found by Towergate’s recent study.

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