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Women are twice as likely as men to ask for help about mental ill health. This ‘male mental health gap’ is something employers can help with through targeted support, intervention and education, argues Brett Hill.
Women are twice as likely as their male colleagues to ask for help with emotional wellbeing, according to the latest research by Towergate Health & Protection.
At one level, of course, it is good that women are coming forward and asking for help when they feel they need it. But the figures for men are worrying, and something where occupational health professionals should be working with employers to raise awareness and thinking about ways of reaching this ‘hard to get’ audience more effectively.
While data shows that women are generally more likely to suffer from mental health conditions and are more likely to have suicidal thoughts, men are three times more likely to take their own life.
The factors behind why someone takes their own life are of course complex and are likely to vary from individual to individual. But the fact men are less likely to seek support may be one reason that, at the very least, is exacerbating this tragic trend.
Managing and supporting someone in mental crisis or feeling suicidal can be immensely challenging and probably will need expert, and urgent, ‘blue light’ intervention. Nevertheless, the fact we all spend so much time at work and the fact that, often, much of our identity, self-esteem and emotional health and wellbeing can be wrapped up in our work and careers means employers can have an important role to play here, often supported closely by OH.