The pressure put on men to be strong and indifferent and the fact that one in every eight men will encounter depression (and one in five will experience anxiety) creates an irony that continues to go on without being addressed. Divorce, financial pressures and work place issues can result in a collapse in a man’s confidence. Around 17% per 100,000 of Australian Male’s cause of death is suicide, compared to approx. 6% in females. The worst part of this statistic is that it’s avoidable. It is important to create support networks and communication within the places men spend the most time, and often if this is not within a family it is within a workplace. These are 3 very easy steps to encourage support for men, from men, within a workplace.
Communication is key in detecting symptoms of depression and anxiety. Of course it would be ideal that these could be intercepted once the symptoms have been detected but this is more difficult than it sounds. Instead one should focus not on deterring depression or anxiety, but rather addressing it and talking about it. Depression is like a cold, the symptoms are often similar in most people but it will feel different for everyone. Send a group email out to the males in the office related to depression success stories or something similar. Don’t be afraid to bring it up in conversation. Start the communication and make your workplace a safe place to talk about real issues.
Team building exercises
They come in all shapes and forms and I bet you have been victim to some horrid excuses for team building exercises. If you want to go down this path (and I suggest that you do), do something fun. If you have a group of sports fans in the office maybe look into fun competitions like a local football league or a tennis tournament. If you have less of a physical group and more of an intellectual team perhaps look into something a little different. Escape rooms are said to be great for team building activities and have popped up in most major cities around Australia. Team building exercises are proven to improve workplace performance as well as mental well being so perhaps talk to your boss about having the costs tax deducted.
Educate Education is the key; but you already knew that or you wouldn’t be reading this. Depression is serious and it ought to be treated as such. Educate your group, learn the symptoms; let them know that it’s nothing to be ignored. Be that guy that organizes a member of Beyond Blue to come into the office and talk, or sends out a group email of a Ted Talk about depression, or send a friend you’re concerned about this checklist. You never know how far your display of concern will go.
Creating support for men in the workplace is often something that is overlooked and regarded as ‘unnecessary’ but the facts would argue otherwise. The act of helping and supporting another in the workplace may be enough to lift someone out of depression, but it’s up to us to start the process and make the change.
“Progress is impossible without change” - George Bernard Shaw
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