Posted on: Wednesday November 11, 2020
How can employers support male employees with mental health?
In recent years November has seen a focus on men and mental health, with charity campaigns like Movember, and the Mental Health Foundation hosting a men’s mental health month. Today we’re looking at particular challenges men may face around mental health, and how employers can provide the most appropriate wellbeing services to support these.
In England, around 1 in 8 men have a common mental health problem. However, men may be reluctant to seek support for their mental health or disclose mental health problems to loved ones. This may be because of societal expectations around how men ‘should’ behave, displaying traits such as being strong, self-reliant, and in control. Men may also suffer from increased pressure to act as breadwinner and protector of their family, and feel anxiety around not fulfilling this role.
While many of the same difficulties are experienced by both men and women, some difficulties and influences on mental health may be especially relevant for men. Sadly, the ONS reports that men accounted for about three-quarters of suicide deaths registered in 2019, and that the suicide rate for men in England and Wales in 2019 was the highest for two decades. Given this worrying trend, employers may wish to consider providing mental wellbeing support that is easily accessed, meaningful, and engaging.
How can employers assist with particular issues men face with mental health?
Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
This has a confidential phone line which staff can call 24/7 to speak with a trained advisor about anything that’s worrying them and get actionable advice. They can also arrange sessions with a professional counsellor, either over the phone or by meeting face-to-face.
Employees can access the EAP confidentially, via their own device, in the privacy of their home – or indeed anywhere they feel comfortable. EAPs offer advice on a huge range of complex issues, from mental health to debt advice to addiction.
For employees who may not wish to admit to friends or family that they are struggling, the EAP is a valuable resource. They can share their problems with an impartial person who is trained to actively listen without trying to ‘fix’ the situation.
Offering an Online GP service allows staff 24/7 access to a GP appointment to diagnose and prescribe if needed. Being able to speak in confidence with a medical professional at a time that’s convenient to them saves the employee stress, and their employer gets back potential time lost to attend GP appointments during work hours.
The GP can provide clarity on the situation and information on treatment options which helps the employee feel more in control. Like the EAP, this is a service that can be accessed via the employee’s smartphone, at a time and place of their choosing.
A range of resources and information available from the experts to help guide people through difficult periods in their life. Personal Group offer Hapi-life free of charge to all policyholders and Hapi users, which provides accessible and fact-checked advice on a range of wellbeing topics.
There’s so much health advice out there - and often contradictory - that it can be useful for employees to have everything in one place, coming from a trusted source. You can curate your own content, or feel free to share our Hapi-life articles.
This November is a good opportunity for employers to assess whether your wellbeing provision considers the difficulties men may face in accessing mental health support. If you’d like more information about supporting mental health in the workplace, you can download our Mental Health Report for Employers here.
 McManus S, Bebbington P, Jenkins R, Brugha T. (eds.) (2016) Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014. Leeds: NHS Digital. P. 8. Accessed at https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20180328130852tf_/http://content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB21748/apms-2014-full-rpt.pdf/
 Mental Health Foundation, Men and mental health. Accessed at https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/m/men-and-mental-health
 Office of National Statistics, Suicides in England and Wales: 2019 registrations, published 1 September 2020. Accessed at https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/suicidesintheunitedkingdom/2019registrations#:~:text=In%202019%2C%20the%20suicide%20rate,highest%20rate%20observed%20since%202000