Mens Health Week 2014 focuses on work and health, including stress and unemployment. But why this topic?
Male identity is strongly tied up with work and how they earn a living. This means that health at work is doubly important for men. The link between work and health is clear.
Men are still nearly twice as likely to be in work full-time. Health and Wellbeing issues within employment are clear. Studies have suggested longer working hours lead to:
- Greater risk of anxiety and depression
- Increased risk of coronary heart disease
- Higher premature mortality
A recent OECD report placed the impact of mental health on business at approximately £26 billion each year – approximately £1,000 per employee yet fears over job security and the wider recession, these issues have been repressed and long ignored.
Unemployment & Health
Whilst often ignored as a health issue, unemployment has dramatic consequences for male health.
Unemployed men are more likely to:
- Suffer from mental health issues
- Be concerned about depression and relationship issues
- Be at risk from heart attack
- Be at risk from two or more health risk factors
Youth employment has been highlighted as a particular health issue. The WHO recently labelled UK youth unemployment a public health timebomb whilst a Prince’s Trust study found half of unemployed young people surveyed felt depressed.
Workplaces need to rethink their approach to health and mental wellbeing. Being able to talk about stress, anxiety and depression within the workplace culture is just one vital first step in doing so. For the unemployed more care must be taken to help tackle issues, the extra stresses and health risks which face them.