Talking about mental health can be tough. Especially if you’re a man working in the corporate world. But today is World Mental Health Day, a time to remove stigma and encourage people to come forward and bring awareness to the importance of mental health.
Did you know that one in six of us are suffering with anxiety at any given time? According to a recent study by the Mental Health Foundation, over 70% of male workers reported that anxiety is having a direct impact on their daily life and performance at work.
And although now more than ever businesses are investing in various well-being programmes aimed to encourage employees to come forward and seek support when suffering from a mental illness, the alpha male culture still remains.
According to a study by Opinion Leader for the Men’s Health Forum, the majority of men said they would seek medical help for physical ailments such as chest pain, yet under one in five said they would do the same for anxiety or other mental health concerns.
Yet still, unexplained sick days cost the UK economy over £1 billion a year
- according to a report from Breathe - with 40% of employees feeling too uncomfortable to disclose a mental health illness to their managers.
There is an age-old perception that men must remain stoic; bottle things up and just get on with it. And it’s because for years, mental health was seen as a taboo subject – coming forward about your struggles could result in being passed over for promotion or even losing your job.
Thankfully, at long last, the traditional and harmful cultural norms of masculinity are now being openly discussed - and it’s benefitting both men, women and society overall.
Speaking from my own personal experience of dealing with anxiety, it’s easy to fall into a cycle of being consumed by what you are feeling – and what others are thinking – when really, the road to recovery starts when you speak out. That’s why Avencia is fully behind Time to Change’s Ask Twice campaign.
The campaign brings awareness to the need to ask twice when having difficult conversations about mental health - because it’s not always easy to open up about something so personal. Sometimes we say we are fine when we’re not. Sometimes, you need to be asked twice.