New research from Mind, the leading mental health charity shows that men are twice as likely to have mental health problems due to their job, compared to their problems outside of work.
These are part of the findings which have come out Mind’s innovative Workplace Wellbeing Index, with data drawn from some 15000 members of staff employed by 30 organisations. Mind want their Index to be a benchmark for good practice in the mental health of employees.
Mind’s first survey shows that one in three men (32%) attribute poor mental health to their job, compared to one in seven men (14%) who say it’s problems outside work. Women, on the other hand, say that their job and problems outside of work are equal contributing factors; one in five women say that their job is the reason for their poor mental health, the same as those who say problems outside work is to blame (19%).
The data also shows that men are less prepared to seek help and take time off than women. While two in five women feel the culture in their organisation makes it possible to speak openly about their mental health problems, only one in three men say the same. Over two in five women have taken time off for poor mental health at some point in their career, but this is true for just one in three men.
This suggests that although men are more likely to have mental health problems because of their job, women are more likely to open up and seek support from their line manager or employer. Previous Mind research suggests that men often try to find ways of dealing with their problems independently rather than reaching out and sharing their problems. Instead of talking about their problems, men prefer to watch TV, exercise or self-medicate, such as drink alcohol. Mind urges men to open up and ask for help earlier on, so they can receive the support they need, before they reach crisis point.
Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, said: “Our research shows that work is the main factor causing men poor mental health, above problems outside work. 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.”
Evidence from elsewhere suggests that men are now becoming more likely then in the past to seek professional therapy when they are troubled. Historically, as a counsellor in Hastings, East Sussex my client profile would have been heavily dominated by women, but that is now shifting. And that change is backed up by research by BACP, the leading professional body for counsellors and psychotherapists to which I belong. It asked 250 of its members for feedback on this issue. The results showed that 62% said that they were seeing more men as clients than five years ago. And nearly three-quarters agreed that men were more likely to see a counsellor or psychotherapist than previously.