Fortunately, the past few years have seen a growing recognition of mental health and how important it is to support employees, male and female, by creating a supportive and inclusive workplace environment.
That environment has to encourage anyone who is struggling with their mental health to open up – to friends, family or colleagues – and start a conversation about their feelings. For men, while this may well be improving, it can still sometimes prove difficult to ensure men feel comfortable talking about subjects they may feel make them look weak or vulnerable. So, what can employers do to ensure they’re supporting men at work?
If you want to create a culture of support, it is vital to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health for men. Companies can increase awareness by conducting training programmes that educate employees, including those issues commonly faced by men. By promoting understanding and empathy, organisations can encourage open discussions and create an environment where men feel comfortable seeking help without fear of judgement or reprisal.
A healthy work-life balance is essential for men's mental wellbeing. Things like offering flexible working hours, personal time off, and prioritising self-care can make a significant difference. Employers can set an example by promoting balance, ensuring that employees don’t feel pressured to work excessive hours or sacrifice their personal lives. This approach empowers men to prioritise their mental health and manage stress effectively.
Proactive measures to ensure workplace mental health resources are available can include providing counselling services and advice on stress management and achieving good emotional wellbeing. But that’s not enough, if people don’t feel comfortable accessing them.
Companies need to encourage their employees to take advantage of what is available by actively promoting them and destigmatising their use. Also, consider adding workplace mental health benefits to health insurance coverage. This can help break down barriers and improve the availability of professional help.
Creating a sense of community and encouraging supportive networks can be beneficial in supporting men’s workplace mental health. Peer support initiatives, or mentoring programmes, can provide men with safe spaces to share experiences, seek advice and find help. These networks can help build a supportive environment where men can connect with others who may be facing similar challenges, reducing feelings of isolation and promoting overall wellbeing.
Good leadership is crucial in setting the tone for workplace culture. Management and team leaders who openly support men’s mental health, and who challenge ‘banter’ or comments that might discourage men from coming forward to ask for help, make it easier for the individual to feel comfortable about speaking out.
Integrating mental health awareness into training programmes will help leaders learn to recognise the signs of distress, effectively communicate with employees and provide appropriate support. A compassionate and understanding leadership approach can significantly contribute to creating an environment that prioritises men's mental wellbeing.
Prioritising men’s mental health at work is not only the right thing to do but is also critical for the overall well-being and productivity of individuals and organisations. By recognising the challenges men face, promoting understanding, and providing necessary support, it is possible to create environments where men feel valued and supported, making it easier to prioritise their own mental health.
If you need advice on how you can improve the provision of mental health support, including supporting men at work, ACS Staffing Solutions can help. Contact us online or give us a call at 01604 704058.
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