Gender and Mental Health:
We have been talking recently about differences in men and women when they experience mental health issues.
Research suggests that women and men suffer from mental health issues in different ways; women experience anxiety or depression, while men tend toward substance abuse or antisocial disorders.
What Does This Mean At Work?
To be in a position to support employees with mental health issues we must first learn to recognise what someone with a mental health disorder would look like. The answer is, they look like you or me, but their behaviour may be different to what you would normally see in that person.
Train Your Managers to Know the Signs:
The research found that women tend to internalise their feelings, which means they may:
- Withdraw from colleagues, especially in social gatherings
- Avoid meetings
- Shut themselves away and get busy
- Take time off work
Men are more likely to externalise their feelings, which means they may:
- Appear more aggressive, e.g. shout, swear, storm out of meetings
- Appear to become more impulsive and take risks
- Appear to be bullying or intimidating others
- Turn to drink or drugs
Both sexes tend not to want to talk about mental health issues at work for various reasons, unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they are not suffering, just that they are suffering in isolation.
Train Your Managers to Know How to Start the Conversation:
Ensuring that managers are trained to be able to recognise the signs of stress, and then to know how to initiate difficult conversations is the first step to addressing mental health issues at work.