Yet, there is no specialist healthcare solution that has been designed specifically for men – until now.
Peppy Men is designed to be a groundbreaking digital healthcare solution to support your male workforce by connecting users to men’s health specialists on a secure app. As a specialist men’s health writer of over twenty years, this sounds like a good idea to me.
One size does not fit all – employers need to take a personalised approach.
Working men’s health: the scale of the problem
- One man in five will die before he reaches the traditional retirement age of 65.
- Men develop coronary heart disease 10-15 years earlier than women and make up 75% of premature deaths from the condition.
- Two-thirds of UK men are overweight.
- Middle-aged men are twice as likely to have diabetes as women and twice as likely not to know.
- Three-quarters of suicides are by men. It’s the leading cause of death in men under 50 and we’ve seen a sharp increase among men aged 35-64.
- Men are more likely to die of cancer than women – big killers including bowel cancer and prostate cancer increasingly affect men in their 50s and younger.
Worldwide, women live longer. In higher income countries, they live a good five years longer.
About one year of the difference is about biology. Most of it is down to lifestyle and access to services, which is where good employers can help.
Right now, men are particularly at risk
It has never been more important for organisations to offer targeted men’s health support.
- Biological differences are part of the reason that men are hit harder by the coronavirus – at any age, men are twice as likely to die of Covid-19 as women.
- Men work longer hours, so unemployment (or the risk of it) tends to hit them harder.
- In our Covid world, accessing NHS services is harder than ever.
Work is part of the problem
Working men are less likely to see a GP than women – not because they don’t care about their health, but because traditional healthcare services’ hours clash with their working hours.
This means accessible, remote solutions are more important than ever.
Additionally, men tend to work more overtime than women. Studies have shown that those who consistently work three or more hours overtime a week have a 60% higher risk of coronary heart disease.
Three-in-four suicides are by men
The competitive, goal-oriented structure of many industries amplifies traditional notions of masculinity – strong, silent, ploughing on regardless.
Disproportionate male suicide levels reflect low-levels of help-seeking among men – women make up about two-thirds of those having talking treatments.
But that doesn’t mean there are no warning signs or opportunities to intervene.
A report into suicides by men aged 40-54 found nine-in-ten had contact with frontline services before their deaths and a quarter experienced issues at work in the three months prior. This shows the potential for targeted support to stop a problem from becoming a crisis.
Organisations, now’s the time to support men’s health
30% of workplaces are considering or planning to introduce specialist men’s health initiatives in the next two years.
To start supporting men’s health today, here are some tips:
- Offer personalised men’s health support. Men respond best to healthcare that’s anonymous, accessible and designed specifically for them. For example, the idea of Peppy Men is to offer employees specialist men’s health support via a mobile app. Contact Peppy to find out more.
- Encourage a better work-life balance. Understand the negative impact of overtime and encourage men to access healthcare services, take a lunch break and not answer emails out of hours.
- Educate your workforce. Hold training sessions at times and places that work for male colleagues, and with ‘production-values’ which show the organisation considers these events important.
- Target men. Explicitly include men and use language that will appeal to them. Provide specialist health benefits for anyone who self-identifies as male and ensure support is accessible to all, regardless of hours, location, seniority etc.
- Lead by example. Male leaders sharing their challenges can demolish stigma and set the tone for your workforce. Use the services yourself to challenge any notion that seeking help is a sign of weakness.
A culture which supports men’s health and breaks down stigma around asking for help isn’t just good for health and wellbeing, it’s good for diversity, inclusion, creativity and productivity.
Jim Pollard is an award-winning men’s health writer, editor of menshealthforum.org.uk and author of three men’s health books including Men’s Health (Haynes, 2020). He is contributing content for Peppy Man.