MAKE A DIFFERENCE | workplace culture / mental health / wellbeing

Generation Y And Male Employees Need More Support In The Workplace

Generation Y and men need more support in the workplace when it comes to mental health.
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As World Mental Health Day approaches, Make A Difference Media takes a look at some of the key issues affecting employees in the workplace.

Generation Y Need Help Dealing With Street And Anxiety

According to research by GRiD, the industry body for group risk, Generation Y employees are affected by stress and anxiety more than any other generation. The age group, 26-44, is struggling to juggle the balance between professional and personal life as well as the stresses that come with it.

Conducted by Opinium during January 2021, 505 HR decision-makers at UK businesses were questioned about different areas in the workplace. Of those who took part, 58% say that they are affected by stress and anxiety related to home life such as caring responsibilities and managing difficult relationships. Work and finances also took over Gen Y employees’ minds as 57% admit they are affected by stress and anxiety due to the pressures of overwork and uncertainty of their future, as well as finances and debt.

In addition, 49% confessed that they are affected by stress, anxiety and uncertainty as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Generation X, aged 45-56, followed at 50%.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD explains: “Employers may typically think that it’s the older generation, Gen X, that has more responsibility and more worry, but our research shows otherwise. Younger age groups can have less stability in their lives and feel the burden of responsibility heavily.

What Can Employers Do To Help Generation Y Employees?

Employers can only do so much themselves to alleviate the stress and anxiety of employees. Things like looking at workload, training and providing the tools to do a job can help. But also, providing access to professional help can often be incredibly valuable, says Moxham.

Things like debt management, budget planning, financial guidance, counselling therapies, mindfulness apps are all widely available within group risk employee benefits. This can be a great way for employers to help their staff deal with the practical implications of stress and anxiety.

“Some employers may still think of group risk benefits (employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness) purely as financial insurance policies, but in practice they are so much more,” she continues. “We see many employees get the most value from these when they utilise the embedded benefits. These are as wide-ranging as counselling right through to budget planning.”

Male Employees Not Accessing Mental Health Support

As part of another report, data shows that women in the workplace are twice as likely to ask for help with emotional wellbeing. This is compared to men.

While data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that women are generally more likely to suffer from mental health conditions and are more likely to have suicidal thoughts, men are three times more likely to take their own life. “It could well be that the fact that men are less likely to seek support may be the reason that they are more likely to die by suicide,” explains Brett Hill, distribution director at Towergate Health and Protection. “So we are urging employers to tackle the issue.”

Women More Likely To Get Help For Anxiety and Low Mood

The figures come from one of the company’s employee assistance programme providers. Over the last year, 56% of all calls to the programme were made by women. Only 29.5% were made by men (14.5% were unspecified). Affording to Towergate, this is a long-standing pattern.

The main reason for calls to the helpline was related to mental health issues such as anxiety and low mood (both being the most common reasons).

Hill says: “Our figures clearly show that many more women seek support. The help and guidance needed are available and are already being accessed by women. The task, therefore, is to make men more comfortable in asking for help when they need it.

“This is a solvable issue,” he concludes. “Many employers will already have the resources to offer support but those who do not should consider putting them in place. It is all about making access visible, easy and stigma-free.”