The health and wellbeing of the UK’s workforce has never been more high profile, with the pandemic highlighting our dependence on keyworkers, especially those working in transportation, to keep vital services moving

The spotlight is increasingly focused on mental health, particularly in men, with one in eight now reporting common problems such as anxiety and depression. In male-dominated industries such as the rail sector mental health issues can lead to a higher number of working days lost, reduced productivity, and missed targets.

Medigold Health has always focused on helping employers to keep their people in work safe and well. More recently, it has further enhanced its support services for wellbeing and mental health and is well placed to help organisations to think creatively about ways to support male employees.

Keeping people in work, safe and well

Medigold Health is one of the UK’s most trusted providers of occupational health and wellbeing solutions. It already supports 20 clients in the rail industry and has worked with employers in the sector for over 20 years. Its work is accredited by the Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme (RISQS). Its dedicated rail team includes specialist doctors and account managers who understand the unique pressures of the sector.

Medigold Health services include absence management, employee screening, help with alcohol and drug issues and a range of employee wellbeing specialist services. Working with employers of all sizes from blue chip companies to small and medium-sized enterprises, the business can tailor its services to provide bespoke solutions.

Helping employers to look after their greatest asset
Medigold Health was set up in 1998 by Dr Mike Goldsmith whose mission was to improve the world of work by helping organisations to look after their most valuable asset: their people. From humble beginnings and a team of just five, Medigold Health has grown into a £33 million business employing 600+ staff across more than 60 locations from its headquarters in Northampton. With more than 2,500 clients looking after three million individual employees, Medigold Health employs over 280 occupational health clinicians running 100+ clinics across the UK. Always at the forefront of innovation, Medigold Health also operates the largest fleet of mobile screening units in the UK enabling it to conduct medical and alcohol and drug tests on site minimising employee downtime.

Its corporate health services are designed to deliver:

  •  A better understanding of workforce health.
  • Improved intelligence enabling informed decision-making.
  • The ability to shape organisations using robust data.
  • The power to boost the wellbeing of employees.
  • Greater efficiencies leading to reduced costs.

Mental health matters – the impact on productivity and performance
The business case for supporting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace has never been clearer. Th e UK loses around 70 million working days to mental health issues each year at a cost to the economy of £2.4 billion. Employees perform better when they remain fit and well. Positive health and wellbeing, both physical and mental, help individuals to develop resilience, face challenges robustly, maintain their stamina and deliver workplace objectives.

The statistics around men’s mental health are sobering to read. Three times more men die by suicide than women, with those most at risk aged between 40 and 49. In fact, suicide is the biggest cause of death in men under the age of 50. Less likely to seek help for mental health issues, only 36 per cent of NHS referrals for talking therapies are made for men. Signs that men are experiencing difficulties may include bouts of anger and aggression, irritability, loss of control and risk-taking. Men are more likely to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs.

The latest statistics on drug use indicate that over a quarter of a million individuals are treated for substance misuse annually in the UK. In fact, the UK has one of the highest rates of drug-related
deaths in Europe. Alcohol misuse leads to absenteeism, lost productivity, and workplace accidents. The cost to society including the impact on the NHS and policing is even greater.

Traditional gender roles tend to reinforce perceptions of men as strong and impervious to self-doubt or worry. In fact, men are naturally concerned about their livelihoods, pressure on finances and their role in supporting their families, especially in the current economic environment.

High profile campaigns are helping to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues amongst men. The Movember movement aims to see a 25 per cent reduction in male suicide by 2030.
International Men’s Day (19 November) seeks to highlight a wide range of issues affecting men including mental health.

Promoting and supporting a healthy workplace culture pays dividends and Medigold Health can help businesses to create the right environment and achieve results.

Mental health maintenance – four top tips for men

  1. A problem shared – talking about issues can help to put them into perspective and provides a way to unburden yourself.
  2. Prevention is better than cure – looking after your mental health means taking regular breaks, using your annual leave entitlement, pacing your work commitments, and maintaining a good work-life balance.
  3. Practice mindfulness – getting absorbed by an activity you enjoy can help you to switch off from work pressures. Becoming involved in a sport or hobby brings you together with like-minded people and increases your sense of belonging.
  4. Mind and body – looking after your physical health supports the brain to work well, so avoid over-indulgence in alcohol, prioritise sleep, get regular exercise and watch what you eat.

Creating a healthy workplace – the employer’s role
Organisations can help to raise the profile of men’s mental health and protect their employees through a range of measures including by:

  • Understanding the issues that might trigger mental health crises and being aware of symptoms.
  • Prioritising mental health within activities to support general health and wellbeing.
  • Implementing a robust alcohol and drug testing policy to boost workplace safety.
  • Putting support in place to help those who are struggling and instigating preventative measures.
  • Promoting parity between mental and physical health issues to reduce stigma.
  • Providing opportunities for all employees to strengthen their mental health and wellbeing.

How Medigold Health can help
Medigold has developed its Medigold Health Perform range of services that help employers to take positive steps to address mental health issues in the workplace from awareness-raising amongst employees to ways of fostering a supportive culture of prevention.

These include:

  • Training
  • Counselling
  •  Self-help
  • Coaching
  • Bespoke services

From Wellbeing Ambassadors who help to raise the profi le of mental health and wellbeing, to Mental Health First Aiders who offer peer support right where it is needed, Medigold Health can help you to harness the power in your own teams. Your organisation might benefit from Peer Support Groups where teams from different disciplines collaborate to work together. Dedicated
programmes also address building resilience at work and performing under pressure.

Where professional intervention is needed, Medigold Health’s experienced therapists are members of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

Our Employee Assistance Programme enables access to confidential advice on stressors at work or at home. Digital technology including the NHS-approved THRIVE app and the bespoke Zenpower app which help individuals to monitor and manage their own mental wellbeing.

Supporting senior leaders through professional conversations, Medigold Health enables them to explore issues within a confidential environment and improve their leadership skills.

Bespoke services
Medigold Health can tailor programmes to meet the needs of your organisation depending on the stage you have reached in your journey to supporting positive health and wellbeing.

In addition, Medigold Health offers alcohol and drug testing through its specialist market-leading Hampton Knight division which has over 21 years’ experience in this field. It also provides advice to employers on policy and ways to support those with substance dependency issues. To find out more about Medigold Health’s mental health and wellbeing services get in touch via the contact information below.

Tel: 0330 390 3370