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Men’s Health Week – Reaffirming the importance of mental health conversations amongst men.

This past week 14th June to the 22nd of June, Lyfe have been seeing organisations focus on Men’s Health. It has been a plethora of activities from supporting men encouraged to talk about their experiences when their partners have had a miscarriage, how the drinking culture influences their physical wellbeing and the hard-hitting fact that 3 out of 4 of the suicides experienced are by men, which is the leading cause of death amongst men under the age of 45.

Where we are seeing a slow easing of lockdown we cannot discount the impact the last 18 months has had on us all - especially on the lack of social interaction leading to loneliness taking a toll on our mental health.

This is prevalent amongst men who in the past would use visiting the pub and watching the footie or hanging out as a means to overcome the lack in social interactions. Where men often see talking about their feelings as not a typical thing men do - in many cases they often can be heard saying the following: “I should be okay!” or something like... “It isn’t macho to talk about feelings with other men or anyone, I don’t want to appear weak or a burden”

How do we get more men to talk about how they are feeling before it’s too late? How do we create that safety in workplaces to encourage difficult conversations?

One size does not fit all but rather a combination of activities run on a consistent basis to help to reinforce the message that it is important to seek help if you are feeling particularly low or struggling mentally. We need to reaffirm and remove the stigma around poor mental health amongst men and encourage healthy discussion around Men’s mental health.

Here at @Lyfe we have been running a series of live sessions through our expert wellbeing partners to support our clients in reinforcing the message that taking care of your mental health is vital for any individual to thrive.

Here are some key actions that you can set aside in a day to do with your colleagues in the workplace:

  • Senior Leaders sharing vulnerability and experiences of their struggles through storytelling. We have seen resounding success in engagement when leaders open up about their challenges, it is perceived as giving permission that it is safe to share. It is also to lead by example as a role model and advocate for mental health. It shows irrespective of your sex, age, background, or lifestyle we all can have those challenging times that impact our mental health

  • Signposting where help is at, from organisations like Samaritans or Mind. Putting up QR codes in the most unlikely places like changing rooms or toilets act as a prompt.

  • Making time – People resonate well when we make time to be present. A simple walk and talk when we sense someone isn't themselves can be a way to create that safe space that allows them to share. Try a virtual one where you both take a walk around your local park or around the block.

  • Ask twice when asking 'Are You okay?'

  • Listen and pick up what is not being said, when people feel heard they feel a sense of trust.

These are only a few of the actions that we have seen work - do you have any others that you could add? What has worked for your workforce? Please feel free to share in the comments below.

If you would like to hear more about the live wellbeing programmes and sessions, we run a Lyfe - Please reach out to any one of us

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