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Men more prone to mental health problems at work

Men are more likely to experience mental health problems related to work than women, in part due to the macho cultures prevailing in many men's places of work

Men are more likely to experience mental health problems related to their workplace than women, according to research from Mind.

The charity surveyed 15,000 employees from 30 organisations; 1,763 of whom were experiencing poor mental health. It found that one in three men (32%) had mental health problems or poor mental health as a result of their jobs. This contrasts with one in five women (19%).

Women’s mental health was found to be more likely to be adversely affected by problems outside of work. This was the case for one in five women (19%) compared to one in seven men (14%).

Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, said that a significant factor is the culture in many men’s workplaces. “Many men work in industries where a macho culture prevails or where a competitive environment may exist that prevents them from feeling able to be open,” she said.

The research also found differences in how men and women respond to suffering mental ill health. It found that 43% of women have previously taken time off work because of poor mental health, in contrast to 29% of men.

Regarding the culture of an organisation and whether people feel able to discuss their mental health, 38% of women agree that their workplace is open to discussing mental health whereas only 31% of men do. This suggests that although men are more likely to experience mental health issues because of their job, women are more likely to open up and seek support from their line manager or employer more generally.

Additionally, when asked if they feel their manager regularly checks in on how they’re feeling, 58% of women felt that they were regularly checked up on whereas only 49% of men felt the same.

“It is concerning that so many men find themselves unable to speak to their bosses about the impact that work is having on their wellbeing, and even more worrying that they are then not asking to take time off when they need it,” commented Mamo.

The research also found that 74% of line managers feel confident in supporting a team member with mental health problems. “Our research shows that the majority of managers feel confident in supporting employees with mental health problems, but they can only offer extra support if they’re aware there is a problem,” Mamo said.

However, the results show a discrepancy between male and female managers. Sixty per cent of male line managers feel they have a good understanding of how to promote the mental wellbeing of staff, compared to 74% of female line managers.