Tackling Men’s Health Week in time of crisis

By Rachel Lett, Chief Care Officer at digital health management platform Span

It is Men’s Health Week and as businesses are reopening, health risks and mental pressure are be increased on all – including working and furloughed men.  Regardless of the generation and work position, men are often in denial when it comes to health issues, did you know 40% of men will not talk to anyone about mental health?

How to encourage men to seek health care

It’s hard for men to open up when they are so often told to ‘man up’. We need to create a comfortable space for men to discuss their health. The first step is to create male-specific education and awareness about health issues. This will help men validate how they’re feeling and remove the stigma for seeking help. The next step is to create a safe and discreet space for men to get advice. This could be through an anonymous chat consultation or allowing individuals to choose male or female clinicians. Timing is also key. In standard healthcare care, people often wait 1-2 weeks before they can see a clinician. Waiting time encourages cancellation as men are more likely to doubt their need for care. 
A simple thing that everyone can do is to ask “how are you doing?”, and listen intently. 

Simple steps to support your employees

  • Monitoring: Incorporate “wellness check-ins” and blood testing in your company/team workflow.
  • Champions: Identify the champions in your organisation, people who are passionate about this topic and give the opportunity to lead. 
  • Quantitative data: Use quantitative data reported from managers across the organisation to identify if some areas experience more stress or anxiety. 
  • Qualitative data: Use qualitative data to identify individual needs and provide support when appropriate.
  • Access: Provide convenient access to mental health care to your employees, don’t assume they get what they need from the NHS or your company health plan.

With digital health management platform Span, each member has their own account with access to personalised nutrition and mental wellbeing plans, and same-day consultations with nutritionists, clinicians and psychologists to offer support whenever and wherever they need it. 

How to spot signs of mental health issues
1 in 3 men in the UK have experienced suicidal thoughts, that’s an alarming number.
We often don’t pay attention or consider things ‘normal’ where in fact, they could be symptoms of serious mental health issues. It’s a responsibility of each individual, as a professional and human, to take notice of people around us. These are some of the common signs of mental health issues.  

  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • A sense of dread
  • Difficulty concentrating and remembering
  • Low mood
  • Excessive sweating or nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Not wanting to socialise or go outside
  • Low energy

Men’s health is at more risk than ever67% of men are classed as overweight or obese in NHS research. A third of COVID-19 deaths in England linked to diabetes – whilst middle-aged are men twice as likely to have diabetes as women.

55% of Covid-19 victims are men. 

And we could carry on with a list of tragic statistics. 

HR experts should consider one more angle – costs. Let’s not forget, combined costs from worklessness and sickness absence amount to approximately £100 billion annually.

As businesses are preparing to get up and running again, employees with weakened immune systems due to lifestyle conditions will be more at risk – leading to a reduction in productivity. For the business, this could even result in direct costs related to absenteeism and presenteeism. Stress, anxiety and depression alone represented 14.3 million working days lost in 2019.  

Providing employees with outstanding wellbeing benefits can improve productivity and lower absenteeism. Most employees, and especially men, are reluctant to talk about their health with their line manager. An on-demand digital healthcare platform which offers any time consultations, will empower your employee to look after their health and save resources. 

Author: Editorial Team

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