Supporting our male colleagues

Top tips for engaging effectively with men about wellbeing

All workplace health and wellbeing messaging needs to be inclusive.  To assume that gender specific health issues are only of interest or relevance to that gender, denies others access to information that they can use to try to understand and support each other. 

Society doesn’t always help men to speak up, whether the concerns are physical health, or mental wellbeing. Despite recent mental health campaigns like #lighton there is a still a stigma attached to admitting that help is needed.

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The Office for National Statistics figures show that men within the 45 to 49 age bracket were at the highest risk from suicide. High levels have been consistent since the mid-1990s, however, with all the uncertainty in recent years, these numbers may rise still with the obvious concerns for men’s mental wellbeing increasing.

With this in mind, it’s imperative that employers are able to engage with this demographic in the workplace empowering them to seek help and support where needed.

Here’s some top tips for opening up those channels of communication:

  • Role modelling and leadership

    When trying to specifically encourage male colleagues to engage, firstly providing an open and supportive culture is key. Ideally use a communicator that they can identify with e.g. a senior male leader or role model. Men respond best to straight talking, practical and relevant communication.  They are more likely to seek help, when the channel is direct and uncomplicated. If your organisation is able to demonstrate that anyone can experience mental health problems, it will help to break down any preconceptions or taboos.

  • Keep it diverse

    Try and provide your workforce with wellbeing representatives from different parts of the business – include all ages, genders, cultures and levels of seniority. It will help more employees to feel that there is someone they can relate to and even connect with.

    Huge progress has been made for the LGBTQ+ community in recent years and so it would help if your organisation includes information for a range of male, female, transitioning and non-binary individuals for whom all health information will be useful. If not for themselves directly, then indirectly, in helping everyone to understand and support colleagues, friends and family members.  Raising awareness of these topics is key to a progressive and modern working environment.

  • Provide a wellbeing toolkit

    Not every business can afford an Employee Assistance Programme. However, even without this in place there are plenty of online resources available. Sport is a great place to start, with campaigns such as Heads Up, Not a Red Card and Connect Sport

    LiveWell Dorset can also offer your workplace assistance, with our own subscription service for Small Businesses.If you’d like to know more about improving employee wellbeing, download our free PDF guide which features links to free resources that you can share today!


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The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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