Discover how simple changes can create a healthier workplace for all, fostering a supportive environment that shifts the narrative and builds a culture where vulnerability is recognized as a strength.

By Adrian von Dewall
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As we mark International Men's Health Week from June 10-16, breaking the silence and stigma surrounding mental ill-health becomes a crucial step toward creating a safer, healthier work environment. In my role helping organisations find leadership talent, I've seen how vital mental well-being is to both professional and personal success, affecting men at all levels.

Embracing Mental Health for Men in the Workplace

In my personal pursuit of well-being - whether cycling through the Swiss Alps or taking a moment to breathe away from my desk - I've considered why many men struggle to discuss mental health openly. The reasons are layered, involving societal expectations that equate masculinity with toughness and self-reliance. This stigma can discourage men from expressing vulnerabilities or seeking help, perpetuating a cycle of silence that can exacerbate mental health issues.

Breaking the Stigma

Breaking this stigma requires more than just individual efforts; it demands a shift in workplace culture and leadership attitudes. We need to foster environments where men feel safe to share their struggles without fear of judgment or professional repercussions. It's not just about having formal programs in place but also about how we, as leaders and colleagues, encourage open conversations and check in with one another.

Practical Ways to Support Each Other

Here are a few ways we can start making a difference:

  1. Regular Check-Ins: Create routine opportunities for employees to discuss their well-being in a no-pressure setting, whether through one-on-one meetings or team discussions focused on mental health.
  2. Mental Health Days: Encourage the use of mental health days not as a reactive measure but as a proactive approach to maintaining well-being.
  3. Training for Managers: Equip leaders with the tools to recognise signs of mental distress and to approach such conversations with empathy and discretion.

A Personal Reflection

Sharing my own experiences with mental health has not only helped in managing my well-being but has also opened doors for others to do the same. It has shown me that vulnerability is not a weakness but a courageous step towards building strength and resilience.

This Men's Health Month, let's challenge ourselves to change the narrative around men's mental health. Inspired by Brené Brown, a leading thinker on vulnerability, who said,

"Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome."

We must foster a culture where being seen and supported is the norm, not the exception.

Our commitment to mental health must be as steadfast as our business meetings and strategic decisions. Together, we can create a supportive and inclusive environment where every man in the workplace does not have to choose between being a professional and being a person.

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