Men's mental health has been high on the list of activities throughout November, which has seen us supporting two awareness campaigns - the UK-wide Men's Mental Health Awareness Month, more commonly known as 'Movember', and International Men's Day.
In previous years, both campaigns have had different themes but this year they have shared the common goal of raising awareness of men's mental and physical health.
Recognising that most of our workforce is male, we have used our online company newsletter to spread the campaigns' themes and ensured publicity material explaining where help and advice can be sought is on prominent display.
Our response has been led by Assistant Marketing Manager Kenika Gumbs, who says: "We recognise the vital role workplace communications can play in supporting these initiatives and making a positive impact on our male colleagues, their families and their friends.
"Together, we want to create a culture that values and prioritises mental health - and health in general - for all."
Our message to the men at HPP is:
- Spend time with people who make you feel good
- Talk about your feelings more often
- 'Know thy nuts' to help stay healthy
- Take note of what's happening in your mind and body
- See your GP or use NHS 111 if you are concerned about any symptoms - physically and mentally
Dan Mounsey, our Marketing and Business Development Director, says: "As a company, we have experienced the shattering impact of an employee taking their own life. I truly hope we never have to go through it again.
"We know it's tough for men to ask for help, but things generally only get worse if you don't - that applies to mental and physical health. Ignoring something and hoping it will go away, or get better, is never a good idea. Speak to a friend, family member or a colleague you can trust, especially our HR manager Carole Hamnett-Sadler, who is a trained mental health first aider.
"We acknowledge everyone is different and handles things in their own way, but we will do everything we can to be supportive."
Figures from the Mental Health UK website, which has a dedicated section for workplace partnerships, shows that while women are more likely to be diagnosed with common mental health disorders, men are equally likely to struggle. They show:
- Only 36% of all NHS referrals for psychological therapies are for men, pointing to the fact that men are less likely to ask for help.
- 52% of men would be concerned about taking time off work for mental health reasons, with almost half of them too embarrassed or ashamed to tell their employer.
- Suicide is the leading cause of death among men aged under 50.
- 75% of deaths by suicide are men.
And the benefits of exercise on mental health have been highlighted by Dan and our Maintenance Engineer Ellis Smith, who last year completed a four-day, 33-3 miles running festival to raise money for Tameside and Glossop Mind, motivated by his own struggles with depression.
Speaking at the time, Ellis said: "I know how hopeless it can feel at times when you're struggling with your mental health and having someone to speak to openly and with no judgment can make a massive difference.
"Sometimes speaking to our families about the tough times we're going through is hard and can be unbearable due to you worrying what they may think. A charity such as Mind is very beneficial to a lot of mental health sufferers."
International Men's Day is always held on the 19th of November every year and is centred on three main themes:
- Making a positive difference to the wellbeing and lives of men and boys
- Raising awareness and/or funds for charities supporting male wellbeing
- Promoting a positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity
MOVEMBER - uk.movember.com/
International Men’s Day - internationalmensday.com/