We marked International Men's Day – the same as we did for International Women's Day – again this year but it has struck me how different the themes are. The theme for International Men’s Day 2023 is 'Zero Male Suicide'. The theme for International Women's Day back in March was 'Embrace Equity'. Then again, when I come to think of it, of course, the themes are different. Men, women and those who identify as non-binary face different issues. But also have different strengths and advantages. Just because men are not disadvantaged in the realm of pay, doesn't mean they don't face obstacles and discrimination at work. It seems too obvious to write but sometimes the obvious needs to be said.
A particular factor which disadvantages some men at work is poor well-being and poor mental health. Not feeling able or being actively discouraged from speaking about mental health is damaging. The lack of access to support, health services and adjustments at work compounds the problem. Unsustainable work pressure and stress can be a big factor.
To try to make a tangible impact for our colleagues at Anthony Collins, we're hosting an event with a guest speaker from Andy's Man Club charity in January. We want to open up the conversation in a positive, supportive way. We've got an employee assistance programme, mental health first aiders, an intranet health and wellbeing hub and an active health conditions group but sometimes you can't beat a cup of tea and a chat! #ITSOKAYTOTALK
I'm really hoping it'll be an event which makes a difference to people. Be it those who are experiencing mental health difficulties, those who want to protect their good mental health or those supporting others who are going through a difficult time.
If you have a minute after reading this, have a look at Andy’s Man Club here. It’s a men’s suicide prevention charity, offering free-to-attend peer-to-peer support groups across the UK and online. Their aim is to end the stigma surrounding men’s mental health and help men through the power of conversation.