The mainstream media is full these days of stories telling us just how bad women have it in the workplace. From being underpaid, to suffering caused from being “forced” into breastaurant work. Women have it bad, and we should be doing more to support them, seems to be the general idea being pushed on us. In fact just last month the media went into a frenzy when a female employee asking her boss for time off, to focus on her mental health issues went viral.
However in perhaps a stunning counterpoint to this narrative a new study has just come out that indicates maybe it’s the men at the office we need to be doing more for. New research from respected mental health charity group Mind, has found “that men are twice as likely to have mental health problems due to their job, compared to problems outside of work.”
Based on a survey of over 15,000 thousand people, and with backing from major organizations like PepsiCo and Land Rover, the Mind study netted a number of surprising results.
For example the study found that women tend to be far better supported in the workplace. With about three in five women stating their manger regularly checked in on how they were feeling, with only half the men stating the same. Now one could argue most men would likely say they don’t necessarily need their boss coming round asking how they are every day. However the more troubling fact is that men also admit that even when there really is a problem they don’t feel as able to be open about it as their female counterparts. With almost 40 percent of women saying they felt they could speak freely about their mental health issues at work, and only around 30 percent of men feeling the same.
Mind sums up one of the big takeaways from their research thusly, “although men are more likely to have mental health problems because of their job, women are more likely to open up and seek support from their line manager or employer.” Previous Mind research has also indicated that our work place culture which encourages support for female employees but not males, drives many men to self-medicate with things like alcohol or drugs. It’s this same modern female needs first culture, that contributes to that fact that men die by suicide 3.5 times more often than women in America. With white males accounting for an astonishing 7 out of 10 suicides in 2015.
Age-adjusted suicide rates, by sex: United States, 1999–2014
Another interesting fact revealed from this study is that it would appear men despite feeling more mentally damaged by work, don’t feel that it’s as ok to take time off because of it like women. In fact only 29% of men surveyed said they had taken time off due to mental health issues, versus 43% of the women. Given that apparently more men are suffering from work place caused mental health issues these numbers should be reversed. This is happening most likely because instead of promoting healthy work place environments for all, we have created a culture where it’s simply better to be a working woman these days than a man in many cases.
If as Emma Mamo the Head of the Workplace Wellbeing at Mind says, “Our research shows that work is the main factor causing men poor mental health, above problems outside work.” Then why is the attention only focused on the suffering of women in the workplace? For years, early feminists fought for real equality. Now perhaps it’s time their modern successors stopped asking for special treatment and attention that is far too often leaving men behind and suffering.
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