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4 December 2023

That’s why we have implemented initiatives to create a culture of openness, awareness, and inclusion for men’s mental health.

We spoke to Phoebe Austin, Talent Delivery Team Manager and Gender Ambassador and uncovered why is it important we support men’s mental health…

“Suicide is the leading cause of death in men aged under 50 in the UK. The mental wellbeing of all people, regardless of gender, is paramount. A statistic like this highlights the devasting impact mental health can have on men and that more resource needs to go into supporting men with their mental health, to reduce the risk of suicide.”

How do Reed support men’s mental health?

“Reed has a health and wellbeing calendar that focuses on different wellbeing topics throughout the calendar year. This includes “time to talk day” in February, “mental health awareness week” in May, and Movember in November. We have a guide available on the Intranet for mental wellbeing for remote working, as well as access to a free 24/7 confidential assistance line. We’ve recently completed internal training for managers on mental health which was very thought provoking. This training needs to be widespread across all co-members.”

Reed Talent Solutions have also implemented a training workshop called ‘Managing Mental Health in the Workplace.’

This is a course set out for managers to be able to support their teams with mental health challenges. It allows managers a sounding board to reference issues they have noticed from co-members who might be struggling and how they can help their teams and signpost alternative methods of support such as the assistance program.

Shannon Richards, Principle Consultant at Consultancy+ volunteers for Red Kite support in her spare time

“Red Kite is a charity that supports survivors of sexual abuse and rape. This is something that everyone needs to be aware of and supportive of, and looking away and pretending it isn’t happening helps no one and certainly won’t change things. We all have a responsibility to fight against the stigma that survivors face (both men and women) and we need to educate everyone on the importance of consent, on respect for all and on being a safe space for a survivor to come to. Red Kites ethos is to support survivors to thrive, not just survive. Everyone deserves to live their best life, regardless of what has happened to them.”

We asked Shannon what more does she think can be done to support men’s mental health?

“Men need to be believed. They need to be seen as the complex human beings that they are not the stoic, tough guys that society and the media have forced them to be in the past. That can be scary, feeling your feelings can be awful, especially if those feelings are due to a traumatic event. But not feeling them? That causes a whole heap of other issues, such as pent-up aggression, depression, and anxiety. Most importantly men need to support other men in being vulnerable, needing support and sometimes just needing a good old cry!”

Do you have any cross over in your career that you can take into your volunteer work and vice versa?

“Yes so much! Being trusted with people’s stories is a hugely humbling exercise, this has ensured that my ability to actively listen has improved and I have really had my eyes opened to the fact that everyone is dealing with something, no matter what they look like, what their post code is or how much money that make! We are all dealing with this wonderfully messy life and sometimes we need additional help to do it well! My experience gained while working in social services has helped me in my volunteer work, especially working in children’s services as I am able to support my clients with information around the additional resources that are available to them and at times I have supported parents working through the care system (trauma begets trauma and so many of the parents we support on the helpline, are working with children’s services in one way or another). “

This year, as part of the Big Give’s Christmas Challenge, Reed have been raising money for Prostate Cancer Research. Through its information hub ‘the infopool’, those affected by prostate cancer can find information about diagnosis and testing, compare treatment options, learn from other people who have undergone treatment, and find tips and advice for dealing with side effects.

We believe that these measures are a start to help us create a more supportive and inclusive workplace for our male, as well as benefit our business as a whole. We are committed to continuing our efforts to promote and protect the mental health of all our co-members.