It can be very difficult for men to talk about any struggles they’re having with their mental health, but the team behind the Movember campaign is determined to change this. With a focus on men’s health, specifically prostate and testicular cancers, mental health and suicide prevention, Movember is designed to shine a spotlight on men’s health, while raising funds and awareness in these key areas.
You’ve probably noticed a few colleagues who are usually clean-shaven appearing with a bit of a shadow over their top lip this month, or the typically bare faces on the train ride into work suddenly channelling Merv Hughes or John Burgess. Forgive them their sins, because it’s for a good cause! For those who are unfamiliar with the campaign, gents who sign up to Movember undertake to ‘grow a mo to help a bro’ for the month of November. During this month, friends, family and colleagues can support the moustache-growing ambitions of their mate by donating money to the campaign. The sudden appearance of a hairy caterpillar on one’s lip can also be a great prompt for a conversation about men’s health, the Movember team suggests, which is an important part of reducing the stigma around mental illness.
Alasdair Grant, General Manager of Client Services at Recovery Partners, agrees that open and honest discussions about men’s mental health are vital for combating the stigma and silence around this topic. ‘While we’re seeing a greater community awareness of the effects of mental illness, there’s still a perception in some sectors of the Australian workforce that it’s ‘weak’ or ‘soft’ to admit to mental health challenges. When driven underground, these experiences can be even more painful for the sufferer, and have long-term consequences for everyone around them.’
Part of the answer to addressing men’s mental health challenges is to create a workplace culture and atmosphere of trust that facilitates these conversations, Alasdair says. ‘We’ve been working closely with employers to try and raise the bar for how mental health is safeguarded in workplaces. Particularly for organisations with workers in high-pressure jobs or those that involve a measure of isolation, mental health is an essential part of any health and safety agenda. It’s just as important as physical health.’ Furthermore, when employers neglect to address the risks of psychological injuries that are present in their work environments, the productivity cost can be huge. ‘When the mental health of employees is given the priority it deserves, everyone benefits,’ Alasdair concludes.
Are any of your workplaces participating in Movember? Anyone care to share a photo of a work in progress? We promise we won’t laugh! In the meantime, we’re proud to say that Recovery Partners staff member Louis Maratheftis is a veteran of the Movember cause and is participating, as usual, this year.
If you’d like to find out more about safeguarding the mental health of your employees, get in touch.
Our consultants love to have a chat, so go ahead and give us a call on 1300 OHS RTW (647 789) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/
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