Men’s Health Week 2021 – Promoting Men’s Health at Work
Men’s Health Week 2021 is running from the 14th to the 21st of June. Men’s Health Forum are promoting a five step Can Do Challenge, encouraging men to get in touch with themselves and with their friends, and to make positive steps towards wellbeing. There are things that employers can do to support men’s health in the workplace – we're here to talk you through why you should consider it, and how it will benefit your workforce.
Why promote men’s health?
The statistics regarding men’s health in the UK are damning. Information compiled by the Men’s Health Forum shows that 1 in 5 men will die before the age of 65. To add to this, suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 35, and 76% of suicides in general are committed by men. It has also been noted that men are less health literate than women, as well as being less likely to visit their GP or a pharmacy unless they believe there is a serious concern. Taking steps to improve the attitude towards men’s health and to eliminate shame could be crucial to improving these odds; every individual effort helps.
How can I promote men’s health as an employer?
- Communicate and share openly. Talking about emotions and health is seen as inherently feminine – we need to change the narrative to make it more acceptable for men to discuss their problems. While you won’t be able to change ingrained cultural notions overnight, promoting open discussions in the workplace will take positive steps forward. Once the channel is available, the conversation has room to flow.
- Signpost staff to resources. Websites such as the NHS webpage and Men’s Health Forum have a wealth of information on a variety of men’s health topics that employees can read whenever they wish. Keep accessible lists or advertise these sites in the office to keep them in people’s minds and be aware of where to direct any staff member who asks for them.
- Consider flexible working for those in need. Men with health problems may be hesitant to mention them at work, so if they do find the confidence, do your best to support them in return. If they need to amend their schedules or possibly work from home to accommodate for appointments or recovery time, see what you can do.
- Be mindful and considerate. The kind of language and advertising you use makes a difference – men may be put off by things that sound too feminine. Try to avoid gendered terms if you can.
- Create workplace fitness initiatives. What kinds of sports or activities would your employees like to see? Think about instating a workplace sports team, or making everyday obligations more active, e.g. walking meetings. You may consider subsidised gym memberships for those who would prefer to get fit alone.
- Be proactive. The signs suggest that many men will not seek out health resources on their own – bringing it to them in the workplace and having frequent events and discussions will make it impossible to ignore. Set up support groups or research organisations that offer mindfulness workshops to see if they will be a good fit for your business. Show your male employees that you are invested in their wellbeing.
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