November is Men’s Health Month – and this final week of November also marks the MINDFUL EMPLOYER Leeds conference, Achieving Positive Mental Health at Work in a Challenging Economy.
We’re very lucky that Professor Alan White from Leeds Beckett University has agreed to share his research and insights on masculinity and mental health in the workplace as part of the conference, which is hosted by Eversheds and has been supported by West Yorkshire CIPD and Leeds North NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.
In meetings with the Leeds Mindful Employer Network over the past two years, the theme of ‘Yorkshire Grit’ has often emerged. People have experienced workplaces where mental health issues are minimised or dismissed with a ‘it’ll be alright’ attitude. This idea of the ‘Yorkshire Grit’ approach may also carry an association with the idea of ‘manning up’ – something that men who are experiencing mental health difficulties may find especially distressing.
There are still some workplaces where men feel their sense of masculinity is compromised when they experience a mental health issue – often because of the stigma and lack of understanding their workmates have shown.
Working in job retention, I have supported clients whose return to work after mental health difficulties has been blighted by colleagues’ lack of understanding. Equally, even in the most traditionally masculine working environments, I have seen people open up to each other and offer real support and care to colleagues who’ve experienced mental ill-health – men as well as women.
I’m very much looking forward to hearing Alan’s insights into this important issue as part of a packed schedule which will also include keynote speaker Professor Dame Carol Black, and chief executive of Mind Paul Farmer.
I hope to see you at the conference on Thursday November 27th. If you miss it, there’s plenty more happening in the next few months so please get in touch to find out other ways you can take a positive attitude to mental health at work.