It is men more than women who suffer mental health problems brought on by work and are less likely to seek help, the charity Mind has said, with a survey of 15,000 employees showing that 1,763 had poor mental health. In fact, men are twice as likely to have mental health problems due to their job, compared to problems outside of work.
A third of these men attributed that to their job while 14% said the source was outside work. In contrast, women found their job and external problems equally stressful.
Mind’s Madeleine McGivern, Head of Programmes, Workplace Wellbeing, said: “Women feel more able to come forward. And women as line managers feel more equipped to support people with mental health problems. It’s about trying to balance the playing field – we need all employers to encourage people at work to be having conversations about mental health, to normalise those conversations.”
Men and women, workers and managers, should all be able to come forward and talk about any problems, Mind said, adding that men were less likely to feel they could talk about their jobs’ impact on their wellbeing, or to have the tools to support people with mental health problems.
Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, said: “Our research shows that work is the main factor causing men poor mental health, above problems outside work. Many men work in industries where a macho culture prevails or where a competitive environment may exist which prevents them from feeling able to be open.
“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.”
The survey also found that men were less likely to seek help or take time off – 29% had been absent for such problems, compared with 43% of women and that men were more inclined to try to deal with problems alone or to cope by watching TV, exercising, or drinking.
Concern about mental health issues in the UK is becoming more prevalent and the National Council for Hypnotherapy says our modern society places great demands and responsibilities upon us, adding that ‘about one in seven people is suffering from stress or anxiety at any one time in the UK’.
With around 1,800 clinical hypnotherapists across the UK, the NCH is well-placed to assist people with undue stress and work-related anxiety issues.
Explaining why people suffer from stress or anxiety, the NCH says anxiety can manifest itself in different worries – from a fear of being around other people to anxiety in specific situations and anxiety in relationships with particular people at work.
“Anxiety is a fear or concern that is exaggerated, and is out of proportion to the situation, although sometimes it may not feel like this. The symptoms of anxiety correlate with the stress response or ‘fight-or-flight’,” says the NCH.
“To experience prolonged flight-or-flight creates feelings of anxiety. It is often rooted in a previous experience that triggered fear or in a general anxiety and worry about your situation at work. There can also be anxiety without knowing what is causing it, a general feeling of anxiety known as ‘free floating’ anxiety.”
Hypnotherapy can help by the therapist assessing the anxiety, identifying the root of stress or anxiety whether it is a work situation, a past experience or a relationship. The therapist will then, with the client, set a goal for a life free of anxiety.
“They will then work with you to reach your goals using a range of different techniques. Every therapist may use slightly different techniques, but working towards the same goal,” says the NCH.
Added Mind’s Mamo: “In the last few years, we’ve seen employers come on leaps and bounds when it comes to tackling stress and supporting the mental wellbeing of their staff, including those with a diagnosed mental health problem. However, there is more to do and employers do need to recognise the different approaches they may need to adopt in how they address mental health in the workplace.”
Stress is one of the major reasons people take time off work and, by investing in stress reduction schemes, companies can increase productivity, happiness and subsequently loyalty in their employees, comments the NCH.
“Many hypnotherapists offer special offers to businesses for stress reduction schemes at work. It is worth talking to your employer or to a local hypnotherapist to see if that this is a possibility.”