Movember and Men’s Mental Health

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Health Assured team

31 October 2023

Three-quarters of all suicides involve men.

Each year across the UK, approximately 6,000 people take their own lives. While women are more likely to attempt suicide or be diagnosed with a mental health condition, men account for around three-quarters of all suicides.

Many of us will have experienced the pain of losing someone to suicide. The tremendous loss and empty feeling of wondering why that person decided to take their own life with little to no explanation can be difficult to come to terms with, especially if you were close to them.

Raising awareness and funds for mental health issues is becoming increasingly important. As an organisation, and as a society, we need to offer a helping hand to men who may be struggling with their mental health.

Changing the face of men’s health

Movember, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is a global community and charity event that takes place in November. Men are encouraged to grow a moustache (referred to as ‘Mo Bros’ by the charity) during November and be sponsored to do so.

The Movember Foundation focuses on key areas such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. Everyone is encouraged to get involved to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis, and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. It’s a great cause, and we at Health Assured are right behind their campaign.

Click here to see how you can raise awareness and funds.

Men’s Mental Health Q&A

In today’s article, we talk to Jessica Richardson, a Wellbeing Counsellor at Health Assured, to discuss your questions on men’s mental health.

Q1: Is it okay if I don't want to get out of my bed in the morning?

I think naturally for most people the thought of getting out of bed encourages a sense of dread. This can be normal, but has it become too much to bear? This is going to depend on how deeply this is affecting you. If you feel this affecting you, if you feel that this is not normal in any way, then there is probably something else going on. If you feel you can, I would reach out to your GP to ensure you are getting the right support.

Q2: How can I offer support to my partner?

Always offer the space to talk even if they don't want to engage with it and let them know there isn't any pressure to share. I find it helps just to listen and try not to advise. Being kind and respectful towards their emotions may help them to express them. It's also okay if they don't want to express them to you. If you feel you can, it's sometimes helpful to try and be as normal as possible, encourage routines and still make them feel included. When someone is ready and wants to reach for support, they will.

Q3: How can we help normalise discussion in a male-dominated workforce?

I think it's important to encourage what may seem like uncomfortable topics and conversations. The more that things are spoken about in a casual sense, the more people can help to feel comfortable in understanding and maybe even participating. Make questions okay and allow space for conversation and healthy debate. Everyone needs to feel heard, and uncertainty is okay. As long as you are not crossing a boundary, having a casual conversation is a good way to normalise uncomfortable topics.

Q4: How do you support men with alcohol addiction?

Men are more likely to have an addiction to alcohol than women and it's hard to know sometimes to tackle the addiction or the underlying issue. Men can be just as vulnerable and open to conversation about difficult subjects if offered the right conditions. I would approach them with a calm, understanding, and non-judgemental attitude. Offer support but don't expect them to immediately grab it.

Watch our Peace of Mind Podcast: "Addiction" with counsellor David Willet

Q5: How do I support my brother with his mental health if he doesn’t always open up?

It's okay if your loved one does not want to open up. Trying to have a conversation with someone who isn't ready can make a person feel attached and vulnerable. The stereotype of 'toxic masculinity' creates a barrier, stopping many men from allowing themselves to express emotion. The fact you are trying to offer support probably means more than you know. Be there as you usually would, let them know you care and don't put pressure on them.

Q6: How do you spot the signs of poor mental health in men?

It feels difficult to try and put men in a stereotypical box of how they react to health issues or difficult emotions/experiences because everybody is so beautifully unique. However, I have often found that one of the easiest emotions for men to express is anger, irritation, and frustration - often seen as a 'short- fuse'. Statistically, men are more likely to turn to substance misuse or other means to cope with what's going on. I would also look for signs of them being 'quiet' and shut down.

These signs and symptoms do not apply to all men, this is only from my experience of working with men - usually displayed to show you they are struggling and don't know what to do.

Supporting men in the workplace with mental health?

Our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provides guidance and supports your employees with their mental health in the workplace and in life. We can help you create a safe, productive workspace that supports all.

We support employees mental wellbeing with any problems they might be facing in their professional or personal lives with our 24-hour counselling helpline.

For every £1 invested in an employee assistance programme, organisations can expect to see, on average a 10x return on investment.

Find out more about EAPs



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