latest health care news

09.08.17

Men twice as likely to suffer MH issues due to work than women

Men are twice as likely to suffer from mental health problems due to the stress of their job compared to other factors outside of work, new research has found.

A survey of 15,000 employees from 30 organisations led by mental health charity Mind found that a third (32%) of men attributed their poor mental health to their job, whilst only one in seven (14%) said their problem was due to factors outside of work.

This compares markedly to women, as just a fifth (19%) of female respondents said work was the reason for their mental health issue – the same proportion who said it was due to something outside of work.

On top of that, Mind discovered that men were less prepared to seek help and take time off than women. Two in five women (38%) said that the culture of their organisation meant they could speak openly about their mental health, while less than one in three (31%) felt happy to do this.

Women were also found to be more comfortable taking time off due to mental health issues, as two in five (43%) said they had done so at some point in their career compared to just 29% of men.

This finding backs up previous research by Mind that found that men were less likely to talk about their mental health than women, and instead would deal with their problems through activities like watching TV, exercising or drinking.

“Our research shows that work is the main factor causing men poor mental health, above problems outside work,” said Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind. “Many men work in industries where a macho culture prevails or where a competitive environment may exist which prevents them from feeling able to be open.

“It is concerning that so many men find themselves unable to speak to their bosses about the impact that work is having on their wellbeing and even more worrying that they are then not asking to take time off when they need it.”

Mamo also noted that over the last few years, Mind had seen employers come on leaps and bounds when it comes to tackling stress and supporting the mental wellbeing of their staff, including those with a diagnosed mental health problem.

“However, there is more to do and employers do need to recognise the different approaches they may need to adopt in how they address mental health in the workplace,” she explained.

Alongside the survey, Mind is also encouraging employers to sign up to its Workplace Wellbeing Index 2017-18, which is a benchmark of best policy and practice when it comes to staff mental health.

“Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index is a great opportunity for companies to examine their management practices, policies and assess how effective their mental health support and initiatives are. It also gives us an insight into key trends happening within the workplace and address these on a larger scale,” Mamo stated.

“We’re delighted to have worked with many forward-thinking employers in our first year who are doing groundbreaking work to make mental health a priority.

“We hope that many other organisations will follow in their footsteps by taking part in our Workplace Wellbeing Index in 2017-18.”

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