Male employees are more likely to 'quietly struggle' with mental health and wellbeing issues
Male employees are less likely to seek help for mental health and wellness issues and require a "gender-sensitive" approach from workplace support systems, according to new advice.
“The stigma attached to illnesses and men perceiving illness as a weakness are often the reasons why men are not vocal about their health concerns,” says Dr. Rodrigo Rodriguez-Fernandez, global health advisor at International SOS, a provider of health, security risk management and wellbeing services.
Previous research backs up the suggestion that male employees are less likely to ask for help when they need it.
Research by AccessEAP found that only 31% of men seek support services in the workplace, and only 66% of them self-refer for mental health support. An Ipsos report found that men are less likely to report that they are struggling with mental health compared to women (43% to 57%).
"The notions and stereotypes of masculinity may also be harmful to men's health,” Dr. Rodrigo Rodriguez-Fernandez said in a news release. The stigma attached to illnesses and men perceiving illness as a weakness are often the reasons why men are not vocal about their health concerns," said Dr. Rodrigo Rodriguez-Fernandez, global health advisor at International SOS.
Men are also less likely to take a proactive approach to preventing exposure to COVID-19, according to International SOS.
Given these risks and the stigma on seeking assistance, Rodriguez-Fernandez stresses a "crucial need for continued focus on men's health and wellbeing" in workplaces.
"Employers should create healthy and equitable work environments and facilitate access to medical and counselling support that is gender sensitive," Rodriguez-Fernandez say.
How can workplaces support men's wellbeing in the workplace?
To mark Men's Health Awareness Month in November, International SOS outlined the following tips for employers to extend help to men in their organisations:
- Encourage regular health screening to detect medical issues in the early stages
- Provide employees with anonymous access to mental health and wellbeing support that is gender sensitive
- Create safe spaces for employees to have conversation around mental health issues
- Make employee wellbeing a core part of line manager job responsibilities and provide appropriate time, resources, and training for them to recognise early signs and symptoms of mental health issues.
According to the International SOS, these types of support can improve the lives of men "quietly struggling" with their mental health.