We asked #TeamEames: Why do think there is still a stigma around men talking about their own mental health and how do we change this??
I think there could still be a stigma as it is still not spoken about much among men, and they may feel that people will treat them differently if they speak about it. I think we change this by people speaking about it more openly and it being more common for someone to speak freely and be comfortable with the subject. - Ellis Rix, UK
I think the old-school ‘idea’ that men can’t be upset or cry is still around in some cases, which is ridiculous. I also don’t think social media helps. You are always comparing yourself to what you don’t have and never thinking about how lucky and grateful you should be for what you do. I think support groups are good, making sure you have a solid set of friends around you that you can be yourself around and go to with any problems. I am lucky that at Eames I have that support and probably annoy my team to death with my nonsense! - Ben Meoded, UK
We've had our own bouts of depressed spirits, days you feel "off" from your usual rhythm. That said, coping mechanism levels are different not just across individuals but within ourselves; it may have been overwhelming when social or family support is lacking at certain times. I can only imagine the stigma could be a fear of association between mental health and workplace performance, perhaps some of us worry that a mental health issue is used as an easy excuse should work performance or activity levels drop. Asian attitudes of "not washing dirty linen in public" could attribute to that, though I find less so these days. We change this by having a safe and trusting environment. Apart from taking time, the availability of various channels, such as a buddy system, specifically trained personnel in the office and an unjudging system will change attitudes over time. - Vincent Yao, Singapore
Pride and embarrassment primarily; real men don’t cry, right? Which is absolute nonsense and I think those old-fashioned views become ingrained in a lot of men which is why we are so bad at talking and being open to discussing our problems. I think we change this by talking and opening up. What’s the worst that could happen if you share your feelings? Or cry? Simple things like checking in on friends, family, and colleagues, asking if people are ok or want to talk and approaching mental health is something that will inevitably affect all of us at some point in our life. - Glen Roberts, UK
I think the stigma comes from the historic pressures of ‘being a man’. Being the main breadwinner, being successful for your family or being a leader and setting an example. Opening up and being slightly vulnerable never sat within the perceived characteristics. I think if you have anyone who hasn’t spoken about mental health before, a group session could be the worst way to go because they won't want to be open in public. Individual sessions and perhaps not even with the direct approach of talking specifically about mental health but talking around it and the factors that improve and affect it will help to make a change. - James Conn, UK
Stereotypes and culture of how men should act, for example, when they're growing up they're told to “be a man” (which means a bunch of things but for example; don’t get upset or react in a non-masculine manner). Also, propaganda on social media and TV that depicts a man as someone who doesn’t talk about his feelings or gets emotional in situations but acts on it and usually ends up solving the problem. I think on a global scale it's challenging as it’s so integrated into the way people think and raise their kids. However, in a working environment, a couple of ideas that could encourage men to open up about talking about mental health such as weekly team gym visits or free memberships and an office therapist (to talk about un-related work topics as well) - Piere Forbes, UK
I believe in some ways there is still the 1800s mindset of the male is the breadwinner, and he should be strong, hardworking and provide for the family. With this stature comes no space for speaking out on weakness, so it didn’t give men the chance to speak out about how they actually felt. Naturally, nobody wants to show weakness, so they still feel that bottling it up is the answer. I think the best way to bring change is to keep pushing on the fact that it is okay to not be okay. People go through hard times in life and getting support or speaking to someone about it makes the world of difference. The more people that speak out, the more people will feel comfortable about getting help. - Emerson Brereton-Davies, UK