With Men’s Health Week well in progress, we need to understand that awareness may no longer be enough. It may be time to start thinking about what can be done.

UK statistics show that 3 in 4 suicides are men and only 36% of NHS referrals for psychological therapies are men. Movember has also stated that, on average, men are dying 4.5 years earlier than women for largely preventable reasons.

“These figures highlight the importance of not only raising awareness but also implementing support to protect and support men,” says Vicky Walker, Group Director of People at Westfield Health.

One study suggests that 20-40-year-old males seek help from their GP half as often as women the same age.

Men and their mental health must be supported all year round and that includes by their employers.

How are men faring in the workplace?

 Men clock up around 1.5 thousand hours a year in an office, working from home, or with their team on-site. As men are less likely to visit a GP or seek help for their mental health, it’s essential to understand how workplace culture and health support can protect men.

Presenteeism is yet another barrier affecting men in the workplace. Our research shows that only 15% of men have taken time off due to mental health, compared to 40% for physical illness. Employers need to acknowledge that men do not just suffer from societal stigma but also self-stigma when it comes to discussing their health and emotions,” says Vicky.

Crafting Compassionate Wellbeing Strategies to Tackle Men’s Mental Health

Last year, three-fifths (61%) of men claimed that their employer does not offer mental health support as a workplace benefit. As with many health issues, offering quick solutions that will solve concerns overnight is impossible.


However, as an ethical employer, there are steps you should take to provide empathy and support to your team:

  1. Nurture an Open Workplace Culture

In any organisation, leading by example works best. Having leaders and people managers speak about their mental and physical wellbeing can help foster an open culture where people feel comfortable speaking up about their struggles. This will help to reduce discrimination and stigma around discussing men’s health and wellbeing.

“Creating an open workplace culture involves not only leadership but the entire workforce. Establishing regular forums or discussions where mental health is openly addressed can break down barriers. Encourage leaders to share their personal experiences with mental health, emphasising that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness,” says Vicky.

  1. Provide Meaningful Health Initiatives

Employers and HR personnel can set up a number of health initiatives that can be useful to their male employees. Organising confidential health screenings will help your employees attend their health checks without waiting for a GP appointment. These health checks will also allow them to have a greater understanding of their own needs.

Consider offering wellbeing workshops and webinars on stress management, resilience and coping mechanisms. These can provide practical tools for employees to manage their mental health. Additionally, providing access to resources such as online mental health assessments or counselling services can further support employees in taking proactive steps towards their wellbeing.

  1. Invest in Mental Health First Aid Training

Certified Mental Health First Aid training is not a one-time effort but an ongoing commitment. Designate individuals within the organisation as mental health champions and ensure they receive continuous training to stay updated on the latest practices. Encourage these champions to host regular check-ins with teams, providing a safe space for employees to discuss their mental health concerns. This proactive approach can contribute to early intervention and destigmatise mental health conversations.

  1. Reboot the Focus on Physical Wellbeing

Employees spend most of their day at work, so implementing benefits such as gym discounts, cycle-to-work schemes, or even offering spaces in the office to work out will help employees focus on their health and fitness.

A renewed focus on physical health now goes beyond traditional incentives. Consider organising group activities or challenges promoting both physical activity and team bonding. This could include walking meetings, yoga, sports leagues or group fitness classes.

  1. Could Flexible Working Help?  

When employees are struggling with health conditions, flexible working options can go a long way in helping them feel more productive, and also reduce presenteeism.

“If feasible within your business, flexible working patterns should be designed to accommodate diverse needs. This could involve flexible working hours, remote work options or compressed work weeks. Communicate clearly that taking advantage of these options will not impact career progression or opportunities. Managers should be educated on effectively managing remote teams and assessing performance based on outcomes rather than traditional office presence, fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment,” adds Vicky.

Offering business health cash plans and employee assistance programmes which include access to counselling services and even talking therapy can show your employees that you want to create an emotionally supportive environment. When employees see that the workplace cares for them, it will result in a happier and more productive workforce.

 These changes can help transform the culture of a workplace and help men to feel comfortable speaking up and seeking support. For many men across the UK, this is the first step to combatting those statistics.