Five ways for employers to improve men’s health and wellbeing from Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing

This Men’s Health Awareness month, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing is raising awareness of the growing mental and physical health risks for men and offering businesses five ways to better support men’s health and wellbeing.

Research from the UK charity Men’s Health Forum highlights that one man in five dies before he reaches 65 in the UK. 75% of premature deaths from heart disease are male, 67% of men are overweight or obese and four out of five suicides are male.

The biggest threats to Men’s Health

Movember, the campaign behind Men’s Health Awareness Month, has listed the three biggest threats to men’s health:

  • Suicide: globally one man dies of suicide every single minute*.
  • Prostate cancer: the most diagnosed cancer for men in the UK, where there are more than 400,000** men living with and beyond the disease.
  • Testicular cancer: the number one cancer amongst young men. When caught early, testicular cancer is highly treatable and highly curable. The survival rate in the UK is 95%***. But many men don’t know how to check themselves.

Mark Fosh, Director of SME at Howden says, “Looking at these statistics we can see just how important it is for businesses to focus on men’s health issues. While many illnesses can be treated and cured if detected early, research shows that primary care consultations are 32% lower for men than women. Men are generally less likely than women to acknowledge illness or to seek help when sick. But it doesn’t have to be that way: we can all take action to live healthier, happier, and longer lives. This Men’s Health Awareness month, we felt it was important to raise awareness of these issues and help businesses better support their male employees and remove any stigmas associated with mental or physical health issues.”

5 Things Employers can  put in place today

Here are 5 things employers can start doing today:

1. Provide information covering men’s health issues and the range of treatments and support available. Considering men’s lack of engagement with healthcare, sharing relevant information about the employee benefits and services available is important.

Consider what employee benefits you offer and ensure people know how to access them. If you’re considering employee benefits for the first time or are taking a fresh look at what you offer, popular and cost-effective benefits to consider include virtual GPs, health cash plans and wellbeing apps, as they provide simple and discrete ways for employees to proactively manage their health and wellbeing.
2. Help to break the stigma around speaking out about mental health issues

Men are less likely than women to speak to a counsellor and yet, are at far more risk of suicide. Mental health support is often available through health insurance cover. This typically includes an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which can offer employees access to specialist counselling. There are also lots of free resources available. Signpost employees to charities such as SamaritansMind and Mates in Mind for those working across the construction, transport, logistics and manufacturing industries.
3. Keep talking about men’s health as it will promote action and can be a valuable way to support employees. National awareness campaigns, like Movember, are a great way for employers to cover these important topics, and to demonstrate that men’s health issues matter and create a feeling of community and support in the workplace.
4. Get your people moving. If your employees are mainly desk based, it can result in poor  physical or mental health. Health and wellbeing initiatives are a great way to engage employees and  get everyone moving. Why not consider a sports club after work, introducing fitness challengesor subsidised gym memberships to encourage everyone to look after their physical health.


5. Train and educate line managers on the conditions, signs, and symptoms of various health issues that potential impact of physical and mental health conditions that men face. This will enable them to have supportive conversations and ensure men can raise and discuss their symptoms/concerns in confidence.

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