How employers can promote male health – and save lives
November is men’s health month, focusing on on male wellbeing, improving gender relations and promoting positive expressions of masculinity by dissolving ideologies of what it means ‘to be a man'. It was also an opportunity to recognise all men, including LGBTQIA+ men.
Around 20% of men die before the age of 65 and most of these deaths are avoidable. Common causes include cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental health problems. Preventative health solutions and measures may help keep men alive longer and evoke interest in caring more for their physical and mental health.
Men are more likely than women to experience chronic health conditions (and develop them earlier) because of lifestyles and biological and social factors. ‘Masculinity’ is associated with risk-taking behaviour resulting in an increased likelihood for men to smoke, eat too much salt, eat too much red meat, eat too little fruit/veg, drink to dangerous levels and miss routine appointments.
Working to reduce suicide
Globally, we lose a man every minute to suicide. We must work together to create safe spaces and break the stigma, whilst allowing easier access to care.
The cost-of-living crisis is putting pressure on many families and their quality of life. With the added pressure of being the breadwinner, it can be a trying time, with 73% of men being concerned about family finances and overall wellbeing. Some men may be feeling personally responsible for family finances despite the whole nation experiencing money worries.
An effort is required to reduce stigma and protect men’s wellbeing. Friends, families, employers, institutions, Doctors and the wider community all need to work together to save lives.
Everyone must take responsibility
Encouraging increased responsibility for one’s health, open conversations and higher adoption of interventions to help with overall wellbeing, from men and employers, can help save lives.
Digital interventions can be useful as men tend to be more technology-focused and often struggle to talk about emotions face to face. Therapy and health screening away from awkward clinical environments increase overall participation and transparency with data may encourage some men to interact more with healthcare and other relevant services/platforms, further promoting positive wellbeing and overall physical health .
One in three men who experience mental health problems blames their work life (7) indicating challenges for employers. Office culture, poor management, workload, working hours and pay not stretching far enough in the cost-of-living crisis may result in a poor working environment and negative employee experience.
Men don’t feel valued
Only 31% of men feel their employer would be responsive to a request for support as it is clear men don’t feel supported or valued within the workplace. In addition, 38% don’t see themselves in their current role for much longer (8) contributing further to the talent shortage and any period of unemployment can cause severe impacts on overall wellbeing.
The World Health Organisation challenges employers and institutions to recognise the frailty of mental health systems for those with new or existing conditions and the barriers to accessing mental health services. Men are and have been struggling and may have had to come up with coping mechanisms and strategies to survive, some of which may be damaging long-term.
Offering enhanced and robust coverage with increased financial protection or awareness will help reduce inequalities in mental health and help close the care gap.
Physical and mental care
Businesses need to integrate wellbeing offerings to include mental and physical care, improving accessibility, reducing fragmentation and duplication of resources and better meeting the modern man’s needs.
Physical care can include digital gyms or nutritional advice, mental wellbeing offerings could offer structured therapy or coaching to further enhance accessibility and encourage those who are cautious to prioritise their mental health.
It is crucial to incorporate digital services to encourage increased male use of resources. Focusing on preventative health measures will help protect and support men in employment for longer – contributing to more positive wellbeing.
Furthermore, including training in the offering may help focus on managers’ or HR’s specific wellbeing needs, for example how to recognise early warning signs, or how to open a safe dialogue about mental health.
In partnership with Spectrum Life
Supporting 4m+ lives in the corporate, education and insurance sectors with our health & wellbeing solutions.”