In 2019, approximately 6.9 of men died by suicide every day across Australia. There were about 2,502 suicide deaths among males (a rate of 19.8 deaths per 100,000) compared to 816 female deaths (6.3 deaths per 100,000).
Regardless of the high rates of suicide deaths and mental health issues of men, only a quarter of them say they would seek help from anyone or mental health professionals about mental health concerns.
More than five men die prematurely each hour in Australia due to potentially preventable conditions. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), One of the biggest causes is mental health and depression, with men three times more likely to commit suicide than women.
Many researchers have recently revealed a silent crisis in Men’s mental health based on the evidence that men have high rates of mental health issues. Read our related article about men’s mental health as a silent crisis.
Keeping men’s health safety in workplaces is essential as happy and healthy workers are more productive and prevent work-related conflicts. Here are three easy ways you can apply to promote men’s mental health awareness in your workplace.
1. Remove the Stigma
Stigma is still a leading barrier for men to seek mental health help and support. As men feel that they have to be ‘strong’, they are more likely to hide their feelings from the people around them. As some believe, to be considered a “real man”, you are supposed to be tough. Resulting in some men not being comfortable with the emotions they feel and developing into low self-awareness of their mental health.
The most common barriers to seeking help that is associated with stigma are:
Confidentiality – the fear that someone would find out that the person was receiving treatment
Negative career impact – the fear that receiving treatment and key people coming to know about it at work would jeopardise their promotion opportunities
The judgement of co-workers – no longer being treated the same by colleagues.(4)
Here are things you can do to help remove the stigma.
Be aware of the words you use in describing yourself and others. Avoid insensitive and hurtful words such as ‘nutter’, ‘loopy’, ‘crazy’ and ‘psycho’.
If negative stereotypes arise in conversation or behaviour, you can actively dismiss myths and educate people against harmful and inaccurate stereotyping.
Create an environment and culture where men can safely access the support they need and support each other – men helping other men.
2. Approach someone for a chat Most men have difficulty reaching for help when they need it. If you notice any behaviour change, approach them, check-in. Here are some techniques to have a better conversation with men.
Be direct. Conversation with men can be more effective if there is a clear purpose. Arrange the conversation with terms of goals, solutions with clear outcomes or directions.
Keep it casual and low intensity. It can take a few short talks rather than an extensive conversation. After all, they need to build trust with you.
Talk while doing something else. Men prefer to talk while doing an activity, giving them a “conversation escape route” if needed to reduce the pressure.
Do a “side by side shoulder conversation” or “sideways listening”. Avoid face to face or eye contact as it allows them to focus on the conversation and make a more casual ‘side by side’ stance while talking.
Use words of strength and empowerment in your conversations with men, using more favourable terms like ‘mental fitness’ instead of terms that suggest weakness. (5)
Everyone is different. These tips may lead to other approaches that lead to better conversations. You may also refer to our article about the RUOK framework on how to approach and talk to someone.
3. Improve mental health literacy Improving mental health literacy inside the workplace can help raise awareness and empower men who have been struggling to be comfortable to seek help and express their feelings freely through mental health training, education, and shared working practices. Here are some tips to improve mental health literacy (particularly men’s health) in workplaces.
Engage in mental health training to help you identify the signs of mental ill-health and give you the confidence to start a conversation and know-how to support your employees.
Speaking openly about men’s mental health in the workplace is an effective way to reduce the stigma and help men feel comfortable speaking up. Just start a conversation with an employee if you notice that something is not quite right, and sharing life experiences about mental ill-health can make men feel more confident to reach out for support.
Show your team that mental health is a priority for your organisation by sharing your mental health goals and strategies and consulting with them throughout the process for feedback. It can help your employees feel engaged and know that their mental health and wellbeing are essential to you.
It is also vital that your employees know how to access mental health support if they need it. 
To make a difference about poor mental health among men, we must end the stigma and stereotype as barriers to the freedom of expressing their feelings, not only men but also women. There should be a balanced treatment for all genders to get along smoothly despite the differences.
To effectively implement strategies for mental health in workplaces, there is a need to know the situation and assess the needs of your team.
Suppose you would like to know how to make a positive impact within your business. To improve your team’s mental wellbeing that’s tailor-made to your team and progress you can test and measure, contact us today on 1300 114 818 for a private and confidential conversation or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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