4 Ways to 'Be There' for a Male Colleague Who Might Need It

While these challenges can affect anyone, many men suffering from anxiety, stress or depression don't talk about their mental health status with others or seek help, according to Priory.

It's important to create a workplace culture where everyone feels supported and cared for, regardless of gender. In this article, in light of Movember, we'll explore 4 ways you can 'be there' for a male colleague who might need your support.

  1. Start a Meaningful Conversation

The first step in offering support is initiating an open and non-judgmental conversation. If you notice changes in the behaviour of one of your colleagues, such as increased stress, withdrawal from social interactions, or a decline in performance, you may want to consider reaching out. Here are a few ways to start the conversation:

  • If you're in a shared workspace, find a private and comfortable setting where you can talk openly. If you work remotely, you can schedule a 1:1 catch-up.
  • Express your concern genuinely and without judgment. For example, you could say, "I've noticed that you seem a bit stressed lately, and I wanted to check in with you."
  • Lend an empathetic ear and actively listen to what they have to say. Let them share their feelings, thoughts, and concerns without interruption.
  • Avoid offering immediate solutions or advice unless they ask for it. Sometimes, just having someone to talk to can be incredibly helpful.
  1. Be Supportive and Non-Judgmental

Creating a safe and supportive environment is essential. Your colleague needs to feel comfortable if they are to discuss their challenges with you. Here are some ways you can be supportive:

  • Let them know that you're there to listen, support, and help in any way you can.
  • Avoid making assumptions or judgments about their situation. Remember that everyone's experiences are unique.
  • Respect their privacy and confidentiality. What they share with you should remain between the two of you unless they indicate otherwise.
  • Encourage them to seek professional help if needed. Sometimes, a mental health professional or a healthcare provider is the best resource. Perhaps your organisation has internal counselling available that you can signpost them to?
  1. Offer Assistance and Encourage Self-Care

Practical support can go a long way in helping your colleague cope with their challenges. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Offer to help with workload management. Perhaps you can ask if they'd like assistance with specific tasks or projects to alleviate some of their stress.
  • Encourage them to take breaks and prioritize self-care. Suggest short walks, mindfulness exercises, or even a coffee break together.
  • Share resources and information about mental health or physical health services available in your workplace or wider community.
  • Remind them of the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Encourage them to use their annual leave and take time for themselves when needed.
  1. Be a Consistent Source of Support

Support shouldn't be a one-time gesture; it should be ongoing. Check in with your colleague regularly, even if they initially decline help. Here are some tips on how to be a consistent source of support:

  • Send a friendly message or have a brief chat to see how they're doing.
  • Invite them to team activities or social events to help them feel included and connected.
  • Offer to accompany them to appointments if they're seeking professional help.
  • Be patient and understanding, as recovery and coping take time. Let them know that you're there for the long haul.

Being there for a male colleague who may be facing mental health issues, physical health concerns, or workplace burnout is an essential part of creating a compassionate and supportive workplace culture. Remember that your support can make a significant difference in their journey to wellbeing. By starting meaningful conversations, offering non-judgmental support, providing practical assistance, and being a consistent source of encouragement, you can help your colleagues navigate challenges with resilience and strength. Together, you can build a workplace where everyone feels valued, supported, and cared for.

External Resource

Movember: Spot The Signs