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Men more likely to resign over mental health problems

Six in 10 (61%) men want to quit their job because it’s affecting their mental health, according to CV-Library research

Just under half (48.5%) of women said they wanted to quit over mental health issues.

The survey explored the views of 2,000 UK workers and found that, although more women (35%) said they suffer from mental health problems than men (21%), men are more likely to feel the effects of poor mental health in the workplace.

Almost all men (82%) said that their mental health is affecting their working lives, in comparison to (68%) of women.

Despite struggling in the workplace, 61% of men feel they can’t discuss their mental health problems with their boss. When asked the reasons for this, 44% cited feeling that their professional abilities would be questioned. Meanwhile 41% said their boss doesn’t understand mental illness, and 39% feared their employer would judge them if they spoke out about their mental health issues.

Men said they would be most likely to trust a medical professional with mental health issues (46%), whereas women said they would be most likely to trust their friends (39%).

When asked what their employers could do to improve mental health support, 54% said they should promote a healthy work/life balance. Offering a counselling service that employees could be referred to was cited by 40%, and employers reducing pressure to work long hours was cited by 36%.

Lee Biggins, CEO of CV-Library, said that these gender differences could be down to society's expectations of men. “It’s extremely concerning that work plays a principal factor in worsening men’s mental health. There’s a lot of pressure on men already to excel at their job, put in long hours and provide for their families. And clearly, despite more women being in work than ever, the pressure to be the ‘primary breadwinner’ hasn’t gone away,” he said.

Biggins made a number of suggestions on improving mental health support at work. “Our research outlines just some of the areas that can help to ease the strain on men’s mental health in the workplace and employers need to listen. Alongside supporting a healthy work/life balance – whether that’s by encouraging employees to switch off or promoting remote and flexible working options – offering a counselling service is also a popular choice,” he said.

“Although the initial cost of such a service may give cause for concern, it’s vital to show that you’re an employer that cares. There are plenty of ways to do this, but ultimately if you don’t act you’ll end up losing employees who simply can’t cope with the pressures of the modern working world.”

Further reading

Mental health support for male employees

Men account for 55% of all EAP counselling calls

Negative repercussions for employees disclosing mental health issues

Men more prone to mental health problems at work