Mindful Employer Leeds Network Event: Men’s Health Week

Men’s Health Week 12th – 17th June 2017

Throughout the year Mindful Employer Leeds have worked closely with local employers to create positive working environments. Through these meetings and events many advocates of the MINDFUL EMPLOYER initiative have shared the barriers they face and how they’ve found it a struggle to engage their male members of staff in discussions around mental health and wellbeing. Therefore, we wanted to dedicate the June Mindful Employer Leeds networking event to raising awareness on Men’s mental health. Also, at the end of May I attended a session on ‘Men’s Health in Leeds: From Learning to Action’ at Leeds Beckett University led by Professor Alan White, where we heard lived experience cases studies and data from health services:

  •  75% of deaths by suicide in the UK are by men
  • Suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 35
  • Currently in the Leeds, men are 3 times more likely than women to die from suicide
  • Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem whereas men are significantly less likely to access psychological therapies…data from Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) showed only 36% of their referrals were men.

Lived Experience Speaker: Former Police Officer Ed Simpson

We were very lucky to welcome former police officer Ed Simpson as our lived experience speaker. Ed was recently medically retired from North Yorkshire Police due to work related Depression and PTSD. Ed has worked closely with the mental health charity Mind raising awareness as part of their Blue Light Programme, encouraging positive conversations and challenging the stigma that surrounds mental health. Ed has now been speaking publicly about his journey for over 4 years. Ed has shared an interview he did with the North Yorkshire Police Magazine for those network members who weren’t able to attend: Ed Simpson Article

Guest Speaker: Professor Alan White on Men, Men’s Health and the Workplace

Professor Alan White was the Founder and Co-director of the Centre for Men’s Health at Leeds Beckett University. He was also a co-founder of the Men’s Health Forum (England & Wales) Charity and the Chair of the Board of Trustees for 12 years; he is now a Patron. Alan is a board member of the International Society for Men’s Health. Alan’s work is of key relevance to public, private and not-for-profit organisations looking to find more effective ways of engaging men, designing better interventions and shape services so that men are more likely to use them.

Professor Alan White discussed the Men’s Health Centre, his work with Movember, reports and project work on men’s health launched by Mind, Samaritans, Men’s Health Forum and the Leeds Beckett research ‘The State of Men’s Health in Leeds’. Full report and summary can be downloaded here.

“Men typically have higher levels of preventable premature death and chronic ill-health compared to women…There needs to be a concerted effort made to address the causes of the health challenges men face. To tackle men’s physical and mental health, action is required both at the structural level of service provision, in reaching out and targeting men more effectively, and also at the societal level addressing the social determinants of health.” You can view the presentation delivered at the June network here: Mindful Employer Network – Men’s Health Week

What Employers can do:

  • Know that ALL men are at risk of poor mental health
  • Employers and the wider society needs to consider how to reach out and target men more effectively.
  • Be vigilant to pressure employees are under; long hours, out of work expectations (email etc), workplace bullying…
  • Offer confidential services, occupational health can be seen as too linked to management so provide ‘Crisis cards’
  • Create in-house wellbeing i.e. self care training, building social networks – walking clubs
  • Training of staff – mental health first aid courses, ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training)
  • Support for new fathers or men widowed or divorced

Presentation & Group Activity: Annie Berrington, Get Out More CIC

Get Out More CIC is a social enterprise with a mission to help people engage with nature to feel better about themselves in mind and body, they want people to get more out of life through getting outdoors. Get Out More work with organisations, local authorities, businesses and families, with their vision to generate wellbeing through positive outdoor experiences. They strive to ensure this includes those most at risk of poor mental and physical health such as people affected by disadvantage, disability, addiction, homelessness, isolation and depression.

Managing Director Annie Berrington shared photos of the projects Get Out More lead with children’s groups, families and community, women’s groups and men’s groups. Annie shared recent research on how access to nature can reduce depression and obesity and discussed activities to try such as seasonal walks (see the bluebells come out in spring), barefoot foots (a sensory experience) or taking some time to meditate, practice mindfulness or read a book outdoors.

Annie closed the network by leading a group activity linking to the 5 ways to wellbeing, in which our network members worked together in groups of 5 to create a wooden star, testing their whittling skills, knowledge of knots and teamwork. To find out more and connect with Get Out More CIC visit: www.getoutmorecic.co.uk 


The Public Health Resource Centre provided Crisis Cards, ‘How are you feeling?’ brochures and Mindwell Cards. Anyone can order free resources for their workplace from the Public Health Resource Centre in Leeds.

Thank You

A huge thank you again to all our speakers and the attendees. We had a fantastic turn out of 50 employers and have received very positive feedback…

One self-employed attendee said after listening to Annie’s presentation they were inspired to go for more walks in the woods.

Other employers commented on how interesting they found the research from Professor Alan White and how much they valued the data.

Employers also fed back how they now want do more to improve support for men’s mental health in the workplace and feel they need to recognise the impact of the words their employees are using.

Upcoming Dates:

  • 28th September 2017: Mindful Employer Charter Signatories only – an employer discussion group on sustainability…how to keep mental health and employee wellbeing on the agenda in the workplace
  • 13th December 2017: Open to all network – end of year christmas special – employer cases study with mulled wine and minced pies.