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Wednesday, 09 August 2017

Third of men with mental health problems blame 'macho culture' workplaces

Written by Ella Pickover

Work is the "main factor" causing poor mental health among men, a charity has said.

Many men work in industries where a "macho culture" exists which may prevent them from opening up about their feelings, mental health charity Mind said.

The charity raised concerns that many men do not feel able to speak to their bosses about the impact their job is having on their wellbeing.

The comments come following the results of a survey of 15,000 employees - 1,763 of whom said they are currently experiencing poor mental health - who took part in Mind's Workplace Wellbeing Index.

Thirty different organisations were involved, including Deloitte, HMRC, the Environment Agency, Jaguar Land Rover and PepsiCo.

The poll found that one in three men (32%) attribute poor mental health to their job, compared with 14% who say its problems outside of work.

Women said their job and problems outside of the workplace are equal contributing factors.

Meanwhile, the survey also found men are less likely to seek help or take time off work - 43% of women said they have taken time off for poor mental health at some point in their career, compared with 29% of men.

And 31% of men said the culture in their organisation makes it possible to speak openly about their mental health problems, compared with 38% of women.

The charity said men often try to deal with problems on their own, rather than sharing their problems.

Instead of talking about their problems, some men prefer to watch TV, exercise or turn to drink, the charity said.

The mental health charity encourages men to open up and seek help earlier to avoid reaching a crisis point.

Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, said: "Our research shows that work is the main factor causing men poor mental health, above problems outside work.

"Many men work in industries where a macho culture prevails or where a competitive environment may exist which prevents them from feeling able to be open.

"It is concerning that so many men find themselves unable to speak to their bosses about the impact that work is having on their wellbeing and even more worrying that they are then not asking to take time off when they need it.

"Our research shows that the majority of managers feels confident in supporting employees with mental health problems, but they can only offer extra support if they're aware there is a problem.

"In the last few years, we've seen employers come on leaps and bounds when it comes to tackling stress and supporting the mental wellbeing of their staff, including those with a diagnosed mental health problem. However, there is more to do and employers do need to recognise the different approaches they may need to adopt in how they address mental health in the workplace.

"Mind's Workplace Wellbeing Index is a great opportunity for companies to examine their management practices, policies and assess how effective their mental health support and initiatives are. We hope that many other organisations will follow in their footsteps by taking part in our Workplace Wellbeing Index in 2017/18."

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