Men's Mental Health Week: Together, We Can End The Stigma
Men's and boys' mental health is often overlooked when discussing common mental health. It is a topic people are still not ready to talk about and is often ignored even though it takes a significant toll on their lives.
Every year in June, an entire week is dedicated to men's mental health. From 13th June to 19th June, men's mental health week is observed globally to spread awareness and break the stigma around mental health. It is an important event to highlight what men's health is and why it is important to be healthy.
Since most men find it difficult to talk or express themselves, it often makes them feel regressed and their urge for sudden outbursts. So through a series of events, publicity, and promotions, men's health week is designed to provoke thoughts and discussion on what needs to be done to improve men's health.
This article aims to break that stigma and learn more about what and when is men's mental health week and why it is so important.
When And Why Is Men's Mental Health Week Observed?
Emotions have no gender. Don't lock yours in the dark.
In their 2018 report, the WHO emphasizes that cultural stigma surrounding mental health is one of the chief obstacles to people admitting to struggling and seeking help.
Men's mental health week is observed every year in June. An entire week of June, i.e., from 14th June to 20th June, is dedicated to the cause of talking more about men's mental and physical health. It is generally followed after father's day. It is centered around raising more awareness about men's mental health, taking the time to research, educate and implement actions that enable men, in general, to express themselves more freely and individually.
Is it easy to disregard your mental health just because you are a man? Don't men suffer from depression and other mental health issues? Yes, they do, but rarely are they given the space or the sensitivity to talk about it. The cultural expectation for them to be strong, stoic, and unrelenting puts undue pressure on them to have it together at all times.
Gender roles play an important factor that prevents men from seeking out help or even speaking up. Often confined in their traditional roles like breadwinners to be more dominant and strong while controlling their emotions or thinking with their heads, the heart is what is stopping them from getting the right treatment. But everyone must understand that even men need to speak up and be understood.
I believe the biggest stigma right now with mental health is that a lot of men are not talking about it.- Mauro Ranallo
According to a report by Men's health forum u.k, almost 3 out 4 suicides are committed by men, and suicide is the most common cause of death for men under 35.
And since societal gender norms generally suppress men, they often drink up their emotions rather than confront them, becoming more alcohol dependent. ( 8.7% of men are more alcohol dependent than 3.3% of women- according to the Health and social care Information center). Again men are less likely to get psychological therapies than most women leading to almost 75% of men with some mental disorders.
The thought that seeking help is not manly enough is a deterrent to seeking mental health treatment and minimizes the complexities involved. Men's mental health is undergoing a silent crisis. With the attention that mental health week is getting, it might bridge this gap and help identify their illness sooner, so they can manage their symptoms more effectively.
Only 36% of referrals to IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies) are men
How Does It Affect You?
Everybody has a right to get help, and getting help does not make you weak. To speak up or to struggle is not unmanly. Researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) conducted a national survey in the United States. They found that nearly 1 in 10 men suffers from one or more mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression.
A week dedicated entirely to improving and uplifting men's and boys' health is a necessary step. Leading by example and being sensitive to your employees' health or how they've been is an excellent way to be a great leader. Male employees make up the majority of almost every workplace/organization, so taking into account their wellness and health will only prove beneficial.
Remember that happy employees lead to a boom in productivity. When taken into consideration, the feeling of being heard or seen leads to better job satisfaction.
Men's health needs a great deal of attention. It's the final taboo, and it needs to be faced and dealt with- Adam Ant.
Thus, men's health week is crucial for just the male population but for everyone as a whole. Before jumping to the various ways of observing men's mental health week at work, let's first explore more about the common types of mental illness and problems that almost every men or boy go through but hardly talk about it.
When you talk about your employee's health, it is not limited to just their physical health but mental. And June is everything about exploring men's critical mental health needs as a part of their overall wellness.
Here are the common mental health issues of men which affect them a bit differently than women.
There are a lot of differences between depression in men and depression in women. Men are more likely to be undiagnosed with depression compared to women. They are averse to seeking professional help and don't speak up about it, which further contributes to regression.
Moreover, men's approach to dealing with depression or other mental illnesses differs from women's. Instead of consulting someone or going to therapy, they often confide in drugs, alcohol, and other substances. When depressed, they often become aggressive.
49% of men feel more depressed than they admit in real life.
Suggested read: Workplace Depression: What Every Employer Must Understand
5 out of 10 men suffer from an anxiety disorder, manic episodes, and panic attacks. The symptoms of having an anxiety attack in men are often physical, and they suffer from sore muscles, anger issues, irritability, and disturbed sleeping patterns.
And at least 6 out of 10 men experience post-traumatic stress and experiences throughout their lives. They often find it difficult to voice their struggle against mental illness.
Men report lower levels of life satisfaction than women, according to the Government's national wellbeing survey.
Suggested Read: 7 Ways You Can Help Employees Dealing With Work Anxiety
Men are more vulnerable to having bipolar disorder or schizophrenia than women in general. It is the sixth leading death cause among men and is mostly developed during early adolescence or adulthood. The symptoms of bipolar disorder are mostly greater aggression, manic episodes, and co-occurring substance abuse.
90% of people diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 30 are men
Mental health is a sensitive subject, especially for men, because of their role in society. You'll be surprised to see just how many of your employees or friends are already suffering from depression or anxiety. However, you can make a difference in their lives.
They need to be freed from the constraints of work and pressure. Be proactive and think about your employees' health. Wellness can only be achieved when all dimensions are taken into consideration. This Men's Health Week, protect those you love by looking out for them.
5 Ways To Observe Men's Mental Health Week At Work
What mental health need is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversations.
Employees' health and wellbeing are the topmost priority in every organization in today's world. Wellness programs are now more holistic, and your employees' mental health or mental wellness has become equivalent to that of physical health.
So focusing on your employee's mental health through awareness programs or wellness policies can help you make a difference. Educating them about the need to speak up more or emphasizing more importance of one's emotions rather than concealing them is a must-stop.
Here are some ways for you to observe and raise more awareness about men's mental health and break the stigma around it. -
1. Raise More Support Or Help Desk For Mental Health Queries
Since men often find it difficult to voice their struggles, making an environment inclusive of anyone who might feel under the weather more than often is crucial. Promoting it more among your workforce will eventually lead them to think of it as less of a stigma and more of a common issue to deal with. By introducing EAPs like stress management tools, free consulting sessions, and mental screening or an app that allows you to track your employees' moods like the one in Vantage Fit App mood meters, you will be updated with your employees' progress and further boost your team's wellness in general.
Again, conducting a one-on-one counseling session or providing your employees a support desk for them to talk to or seek help is always constructive. It allows them to speak their heart out without any hesitation. Maintaining confidentiality is the key to healthy conversation.
You encourage your employees to speak up or have more conversations about it to break the stigma around it.
2. Provide Free Health Services And Consultancy Programs
Let men's mental health week provide you yet another opportunity to give men free and convenient health services they wouldn't receive otherwise. You can also organize free health booths, health screenings, and health fairs at your workplace to include everyone.
An employee assistance program is another way to raise mental health awareness. Incorporating such programs at work is a win-win situation as employees rely heavily on their managers to resolve issues adversely affecting their physical and psychological health.
Additionally, conducting mental health screenings at your workplace can benefit you and your employees. These screenings can encourage employees to seek assistance if necessary, whether online or in-person.
Therefore, if you provide your employees with enough resources, they will be aware of what they are going through mentally and how to cope with the situation, and which resources to utilize to deal with it.
Suggested Read :Wellness Contest Ideas To Improve Employee Health and Engagement
3. Hold A Seminar On Mental Health With Famous Sports Figures or Celebrities.
Consider hosting a seminar at your workplace to hear more about the struggles and experiences that famous figures have had to face. As a result, you will relate to it more easily and see it as less of a taboo and more of a topic to discuss.
Identifying what is troubling them and the issues they are facing at work and helping them relate to it personally will motivate and inspire them to take a stand for themselves as well.
A webinar or seminar with a celebrity host to discuss more men's mental health and overcome it would be a great initiative. You can also have a theme exclusively for men and one-on-one fun questionnaire rounds to clear up any doubts they might have.
4. Improve Your Management Skills and Yourself
Mental health is a sensitive topic for everyone, and to raise more education and awareness among your employees, you'll need first to train yourself and your management. Workplace culture is the first step to creating a better environment for your employees.
Thus, before addressing such a sensitive issue, you need to be aware of its dynamic and how holistic mental wellness is in reality. There should be training for the management and managers to help employees identify their mental health issues and find solutions.
Training must be relevant since every employee is different. Try to show your employees the importance of mental health and why they should take it as seriously as any other health issue. The ability to accept and handle this challenge can be encouraged and emphasized in your programs.
5. Get Your Male Employees Pumped Up With A Fun Activity Day or Walkathon.
Taking your male employees out for a fun day with various activities and sports they can participate in can be a great way to lift their spirits. As physical and mental health are closely related, having a day or event solely for them to participate in and boosting their spirits with rewards or appreciation can also boost their morale.
Men's mental health week would be a great time to celebrate health and fitness by having a sports day. In addition, you can organize a walkathon for the same cause where your employees can participate and learn about the importance of the reason at the same time.
Suggested Read : 7 Ways How Hosting A Walkathon Benefits Your Entire Workforce
Summing it up
Thus, having a week solely dedicated to men's health and mental wellness is important. It allows everyone to highlight to men who feel alone, afraid, embarrassed, or whatever emotion they feel that they are not alone. As a result, you can promote something that some may perceive as stigmatized. By discussing mental wellness in men, you are collectively and individually working to reduce the stigma surrounding it.
I hope this article encourages you and all the men in your life to take care of their mental health more seriously and live their lives to the fullest without being skeptical about it.
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