Over a quarter of Canadian men fear discussing mental health at work could risk their job

    --  New research released by Movember ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day
    --  The study also found that only 54% of employed men said they would be
        able to take time off work for mental health or personal issues

TORONTO, Sept. 9, 2019 /CNW/ - One in four Canadian men (28 per cent) fear their job could be at risk if they discussed their mental health at work, according to new research by Movember.

Figures released by Movember ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day tomorrow (September 10(th)) have revealed how despite growing awareness of the male mental health crisis, a third of men said they would be reluctant to open up about their problems in case it had a negative impact on their career.

The study, conducted by Ipsos MORI, surveyed 1,000 Canadian men aged between 18 and 75. It found that 42 per cent of men would be worried about colleagues making negative comments behind their backs if they discussed mental health issues at work.

A further 33 per cent of men think they could be held back from promotion at work if they mentioned a problem that they were finding it difficult to cope with.

The majority of Canadian men are aware of the availability of mental health days in their workplace, with just over half (54%) of employed men said they would be able to take time off work, if they were struggling with their mental health or other personal issues. However, this research shows that stigma surrounding mental health is still preventing men from talking about their problems and seeking help when they need it.

"Although we've made great progress in starting to talk openly about how we are feeling, there are many men worried that a personal mental health challenge might be revealed, especially in the workplace," says Brendan Maher, Movember's Global Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Director who is based out of Australia.

"We need to find effective ways of tackling that stigma so that men aren't discouraged from getting the help they need. In the workplace, this can start with leaders encouraging conversations about the tough stuff and reminding staff that they won't be marked down and will be supported if they are struggling."

Movember is committed to tackling the crisis in men's mental health through its investment in mental health programs and encouraging men to talk openly about their problems.

Three out of four suicides are men and it remains the biggest cause of death for men under the age of 44. Risk factors that increase a man's vulnerability to poor mental health and suicide include relationship breakdown, acute stress, persistent low mood and social isolation.

To coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day, Movember 's Man of More Words campaign is focused on encouraging men to open when they are going through a tough time. Through a series of videos and social media posts, the charity is sharing the stories of men who have benefited from speaking up.

Movember's research also shows that over three quarters of Canadian men (80 per cent) polled believe that talking openly is an effective way of tackling problems.

Brendan Maher adds: "We're asking everyone be a 'Man of More Words'. We know it can be sometimes difficult to have those conversations but it's crucial that people reach out to someone when they are facing a tough time. It could also mean reaching out to a friend who you think might be having a tough time - and taking the time to stop and really listen to him."

CANADIAN CASE STUDY: Retired Vancouver firefighter, Erik Bjarnason experienced suicidal thoughts himself following a personal battle with depression. After being trapped on Mount Logan in British Columbia, Erik lost all fingers and half a thumb to frostbite. He began to struggle with his mental health after the accident, pulling away from family and friends and self-medicated with alcohol when he was off the clock. Erik says that speaking out saved his life. He has since become an advocate for men to speak when they might be struggling, but also for workplaces to recognize the need to better support their employees, particularly amongst the first responder community. "There's still a huge lack of awareness around how to deal with co-workers and employees who may be struggling. I had always thought I was the only one suffering. In reality there is a small army of firefighters suffering in silence who are desperate for help." Watch Erik's story HERE.

For more information, go to Movember.com


Cst. Jeremy Shaw, Calgary, Alberta
A constable with the Calgary Police Service, Jeremy Shaw recognizes the need for greater awareness for those struggling with their mental health. As a first responder, he has seen suicide both first-hand in the field, but has also experienced the power it can have within the ranks. "A lot of people don't think about the impact these calls can have on first responders. There's a connotation that a traumatic event needs to occur in order for us to experience a struggle with our mental health. You don't need to wait for that - prioritize checking in on yourself, even when you're feeling okay."

Kyle Moffatt, Regina, Sask.
Kyle watched his father battle with his mental health and suicidal thoughts until he eventually took his life four years ago. Kyle is now an advocate for mental health awareness, suicide prevention and the need for men to speak out when they are struggling early on. Kyle, who himself experienced suicidal thoughts in his early 20s, recognizes it's not always easy. "Thankfully, I had a moment where I decided I wanted to rewrite my life but it's much easier to feel this way at 24 than it is at 48 - that's why speaking out early is so important."

Andrew Jensen, Ottawa, Ontario
An Ottawa-native,
the expectations and pressure Andrew endured while playing golf professionally took a toll on his mental health. Having struggled with his mental health and suicidal thoughts all his life, after Andrew tried to take his own life, he turned to therapy. Andrew now advocates that mental health is as important as physical health, "It's a constant healing process," Andrew says.
Andrew is located in Florida where he plays golf professionally. He is available by phone and Skype.

Ben Meisner, Halifax, Nova Scotia
As a budding professional hockey player, feelings of inadequacy led Ben down a dark path - one where he felt the only answer would be to take his own life. Thankfully, Ben recognized how he was feeling before it was too late - and he spoke out. Since then, Ben, who plays hockey in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga 2 (DEL2) in Freiburg, Germany, has become an advocate for speaking out when times are rough, particularly for those within the sporting community.
Ben is located in Germany, but available by phone and Skype.

Alexandra (Ali) Wise, Toronto, Ontario
At just 18 years old, Alexandra lost her mother to ovarian cancer. Three weeks after her mother's death, Alexandra's father took his own life following a lifelong struggle with his mental health, particularly depression. Sadly, Alexandra's father had fallen into the trap of silence - not speaking out despite his internal struggles. "I didn't understand what was going on with him, mentally. He had physical health and the choice to live." Alexandra, who now works at the Movember Foundation, has a better understanding now of the battles many men, including her father, fight when it comes to their mental health. "There's a connotation even today that men need to be the 'head of the household' and be the foundation for the family - but men need to understand the importance behind speaking out. It truly could save their life."

David Laskovski, Toronto, Ontario
An emergency medical dispatcher for the Toronto Paramedic Services, David has taken many calls from people who have been struggling with suicidal thoughts. The job became especially personal for David when his team responded to a call one night - someone had been found unconscious, not breathing. As the team listened to the coroner read off the name, they realized that their colleague, a member of their own team, was the man who had chosen to take his life. It was from that moment on that David committed to learning more, becoming a trainer for suicide intervention. "You are not less of a man for speaking up. You are more of a man because that means you want to fix things."

About Movember:

Movember is the leading charity dedicated to changing the face of men's health around the world. With a singular goal to stop men dying too young, the charity supports the following causes: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. Since 2003, the support of more than 5 million participants has funded over 1,250 innovative projects across more than 20 countries. To donate or learn more, please visit Movember.com.

SOURCE Movember Canada