Men’s Health Awareness Week – The importance of disclosure

This week marks Men’s Health Awareness week. Many may associate men’s health with physical illnesses such as Cancer or Diabetes, however, this year’s national event aims to highlight the effects that stress can have on men, whilst considering the importance of mental wellbeing. Ruth Davies, Senior Employment Officer for Enable’s mental health team, speaks about the issues surrounding mental health needs in men and the importance of communication:

According to suicide prevention charity, Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm), suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45. A YouGov poll of 2,000 men aged between 18 and 45 found 42% of them had considered ending their own lives, with nearly half of that group admitting that they had never spoken to anyone about these thoughts.

Research has shown that conversation around personal experiences of depression and other mental health needs among men is rare and according to a study by the Huffington Post, only 18% of men say that they are comfortable with openly discussing their feelings.

When we speak of gender inequality, we immediately think of women. However, the influences that traditional male stereotypes have on the male population should also be considered. Women are actually more likely to suffer from depression, however, they are also more likely to seek help when this happens. It is believed that, in part, it is society’s stereotypical idea of masculinity that results in men being reticent to talk about their feelings.

So what can be done about this silent killer? Successfully encouraging men to talk about their mental health before they reach crisis point will ultimately help towards a decline in suicides.

One area in which disclosure is important is within the workplace. Mental health problems are one of the most common reasons for taking time off sick from work. One way to minimise  time off sick is to be open with your employer about your mental health Having a job helps to build self-worth and social inclusion, so generally speaking being in work is good for your mental health. If an employer knows about your mental health they are able to look at making adjustments to ensure that you able to manage both work and your health.

One in four people suffer with mental health needs at some point in their life. This makes it very likely that anyone worrying about disclosing their health to an employer will not be alone. By opening up the discussion on mental health, this could encourage colleagues to do the same and seek help with their own issues.

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is a method used when placing people with mental health needs into employment. Research by the Centre for Mental Health has shown that IPS clients are twice as likely to gain employment (55% v. 28%) and to work for significantly longer periods of time. IPS has been proven to be more effective when the jobseeker makes the decision to disclose their mental health needs.

Supported employment service, Enable, is a Centre for Excellence in IPS, recognised by the Centre for Mental Health. With a proven track record of 20 years of results in Shropshire and across the West Midlands, Enable provides advice and practical help for people with mental health needs who want paid employment.

On this year’s World Mental Health Day, 10 October 2016, we will be holding an Employer Engagement event, to encourage disclosure and open up the conversation on mental health in the workplace. The event will be held at The Hive, Shrewsbury at 8:30am to 10:30am.

To book your free place on this event, please:


Phone: 01743 276 900