In England 1 in every 8 men has a mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder. Men aged 45-49 also had the highest suicide rate in England and Wales in 2019.
Men’s Health Week (14-21st June) aims to raise awareness of the health issues that affect men disproportionately and focuses on getting men to become more aware of health problems they may have and gain the courage to do something about it.
Gender stereotypes mean men are often expected to be strong, dominant and in control. While these aren’t inherently bad things, they can make it harder for men to reach out for help.
If you’re concerned and you recognise you are developing an issue, do try to talk to your GP. It can be daunting, but most people find that speaking to their GP and getting help and support can make a big difference.
As well as speaking to your GP, we have listed some simple tips on looking after your own wellbeing that can be a great place to start.
10 practical steps men can take to improve their health and wellbeing
1. Get talking. Speaking about your feelings is a big first step and can help you find a solution, or at least release some of the pressure you are under. If you don’t think you can discuss the problem with anyone you know, you can call a confidential telephone counselling service. If you work or have worked in the wider print industry, you can register for our helpline for free, or anyone can call the Samaritans on 115 123.
2. Keep active. Regular physical activity can increase our self-esteem and can reduce stress and anxiety. It also plays a role in preventing the development of mental health problems and in improving the quality of life of people experiencing mental health problems.
3. Eat well. Our brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental wellbeing.
4. Drink sensibly. Regular, heavy drinking interferes with chemicals in the brain that are vital for good mental health. It’s very typical to reach for alcohol when you are feeling low, but in the long run alcohol can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety, and make stress harder to deal with.
5. Connect with people. Keeping in touch with people, whether it’s face to face, telephone or video call can really boost your mood. You don’t have to wait for a reason to contact someone, just saying hello is enough.
6. Take a break. A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your health and wellbeing. It could be a five-minute pause from a half-hour lunch break at work, or a weekend exploring somewhere new. Allowing yourself some ‘me time’ is not being selfish, it’s prioritising your own health and mental wellbeing.
7. Do an activity. Finding something you enjoy can provide a great sense of purpose. It can be anything; from painting to football, joining a Men’s Shed or dancing the Tango. Try some new activities out and see where it takes you.
8. Improve your self esteem. How you feel about yourself has a huge effect on your health and wellbeing. Men’s Health Forum has supplied some brilliant tips that can help to boost your self esteem, because you need to be a good friend to yourself too.
9. Care for others. Caring for others is a great way to build relationships and make you feel needed. How can you help those around you? If you need some ideas, how about searching for volunteering opportunities near you.
10. Join the CAN DO Challenge. Get motivated to make positive changes by joining in with the CAN DO Challenge. Try a new wellbeing action every day during Men’s Health Week and see what other men are doing too. You can do it!
Our helpline is there for anyone in our industry and provides impartial advice and support. We’ve answered some of the most common questions about our helpline service here, and hope that you’ll register your organisation for this valuable service.
Myth 1: Calls to the helpline are monitored
All calls are confidential. We don’t share any of our callers’ details. So, give us a ring and see how we can help.
Myth 2: The helpline is not for individuals
There are two ways to access the helpline. Via your employer, who will work with The Printing Charity to understand the service and share it with all employees, or as an individual. If you’re an individual, simply call us on 01293 542 820 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can help you access the service.
Myth 3: It costs to call the helpline
Calls are completely free to the helpline. We don’t charge anything, so give us a call and see how we can help.
Myth 4: I can’t call the helpline in the evenings
You can call the service 24/7/365 for emotional support. Practical advice and guidance is available Monday – Friday 8am-8pm.
P.S. Evenings and weekends are often the quietest time to call.
Myth 5: Only I can call the helpline
Anyone over the age of 16 with an immediate family member who already has access to the helpline can also get in touch. So let your family know that this service is available to them too.
Myth 6: My problem is not very important
No matter how big or small your issue, our advisers will do what they can to help you find a way forward. It’s better to talk to someone rather than let things become bigger, so give us a call.
Myth 7: It is challenging to set up the helpline for my staff
We can have you set up in no time at all. We just need to understand a bit about your organisation to make sure you have the right materials to share with your team. Then we’re good to go.
Myth 8: It costs to register my company for the helpline
Access to the helpline is completely free for individuals and companies. We don’t ask for donations. We just ask that companies register with us first so that we can keep in touch and ensure we are helping those in the print, paper, publishing and packaging industries.
Myth 9: We don’t need this sort of help right now
Think of it as a safety net for when your team might need help. We know that the challenges people face are often hidden away, so although you may think everything is ok, it’s not always the case. There is no downside to putting support in place.
Myth 10: The helpline is for people in crisis
No problem is too small and you don’t need to feel that you are in crisis to get help. All problems start small so it’s worth giving us a call now to see how we can help.
We offer advice and guidance from Citizen Advice Bureau trained specialists as well as emotional support from counsellors. It could be a practical issue, like a parking ticket dispute or boundary issue relating to your property that you need some help with. We’ll be here for you when you need us, practically or emotionally.
Myth 11: We’re not big enough to need a helpline
Life can bring all sorts of challenges at work and home. It doesn’t matter the size of the company or the challenges faced, we can help. Your company does not need an HR department to be eligible to use the helpline. Our relationship managers can help you implement the service for your team to use when they need it.
Myth 12: I might not get through to anyone
Our service is equipped to handle all calls. There may be peak times with a short waiting time, but your call will always be answered.
We hope that answered any questions you may have had about the helpline. There’s more information on our website and when ready, register as a business here. If you are an individual looking to register, please contact email@example.com or call 01293 542 820.
In light of Paragon CC announcing a new apprenticeship levy fund, we spoke to Sophie Kirby, Head of Education and Partnerships, about routes into employment through apprenticeships and why they should be considered for those looking to join the print industry.
At The Printing Charity, we believe in promoting development, encouraging people to create their career path in our sector and boosting their skills and experience along the way. It is for this reason that we invest in projects that meet these aims, most prominently our own Rising Star Awards which offer young people aged 18-30 the opportunity to gain up to £1500 to invest in training and development to propel them forwards.
An alternative method of achieving training and development we are also keen to champion, is that of undertaking an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are great for both employer and employee and benefits include:
- They are suitable for both new recruits and the development of existing staff
- There are few barriers to entry
- A broad variety of apprenticeships are offered, across many training providers, all over the country
- The programmes offer a nice balance between learning and working, which provides on the job experience and an income, as well as a qualification
- Working with your employer to tailor your training can be really valuable, as you can work together to fulfil their future requirements and carve a career pathway
- Apprenticeships are offered at many levels, right up to degree level
- They also offer the opportunity to broaden horizons – with the experience of working with your training provider and meeting other apprentices outside of your workplace
While non levy-paying employers can access a largely discounted price for apprenticeship training, there is still a cost associated, which can remain a barrier to access. As we emerge from the challenges that the pandemic has brought our industry, it is easy to understand why funds cannot be diverted into additional training and development opportunities.
It was therefore with great enthusiasm I heard of Paragon Customer Communications (PCC) new initiative. As part of the Paragon Ignite apprenticeship scheme, PCC will transfer a proportion of their apprenticeship levy to enable more small businesses to offer apprenticeships. This will make them both affordable and attainable.
If you are a small business in the printing sector and feel you could benefit from hiring a new apprentice, or offering this to your existing workforce, you can start the application process with Paragon today, to see if they can pay the apprenticeship training charge on your behalf.
We are excited by the news that on the 6th May the Printing Industry secured full approval for the Level 2 Print Operative Standard from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE). Thanks to the hard work of the BPIF and a consortium of organisations including The Printing Charity, this standard hopes to entice young people into the industry.
Value of apprenticeships
Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to improve skills, gain qualifications and progress careers. As part of our mission to nurture young talent in the industry, we actively support apprenticeships and are proud to have been involved with this recent development.
Level 2 is Assistant level and plays an important role in our industry as it is often the first stage of a career in print. This new Level 2 print standard has three options; pre-press operative, press operative and post-press operative. With this approval and the existing Level 3 Print Technician standard, there now exists a solid training programme in place for young people hoping for a long and successful career.
James Buffoni, MD at Ryedale Group Ltd and consortium chair, said “Approval of the Level 2 Standard brings recognition, structure and opportunity to the engine-room of the industry. This signifies that Print Operatives have key skills to offer the UK economy and ensures that print apprenticeships in the UK rival the best in the world.”
We hope that having our official standards will encourage more people to take on an apprenticeship and become leaders of tomorrow. We understand the process wasn’t easy so a big well done to everyone involved.
How are you? It’s a simple question, but so important to ask and to take the time to listen carefully to the answer. Our Head of Welfare and Wellbeing, Debbie Beck talks about checking in on others and how The Printing Charity is here to listen and support anyone in need of help.
Our mental health is just as important as our physical health and it’s great that this is more widely recognised. Since Covid-19 I feel we have all become more self-aware of our own mental health and of the mental health of those around us.
One of the most difficult parts of my role is hearing about people’s challenges and how they are struggling as a result. However, like the rest of the team, it is rewarding to hear from people that our support has made a difference to their lives. We try to provide people with the tools to help themselves and, if appropriate, encourage them to get back into work, even if it is to a different industry, and give some financial support while they do this. This is because working and establishing a routine make people feel valued which has a huge impact on wellbeing.
How the Printing Charity support people
There is a range of ways the Printing Charity supports people. We have grants for white goods such as fridges and cookers, or for furniture such as a new bed or sofa. We can give short-term financial support, to help someone with their living expenses while they recover from illness or while seeking employment. During COVID-19 we introduced a new emergency grant which releases funds quickly and is available to people who wouldn’t usually qualify for our support. We can also contribute towards the cost of care or for therapeutic services whilst receiving care.
The Welfare and Wellbeing team supports those that have a financial need, but we recognise that giving a grant won’t solve everything. As part of our service, we signpost people to other organisations including debt management, gambling and addiction, which are all things that impact on wellbeing.
Another way of offering support is by referring beneficiaries to our free, confidential helpline for advice and emotional support. This can be practical advice from CAB trained advisers or counselling from BACP trained counsellors.
Who is eligible for support?
People often think they won’t be eligible because they have left the industry or are retired but that isn’t the case. We help people with a print history of at least three years and that doesn’t have to be current or consecutive. We will also consider helping if the print connection was through immediate family such as a parent or adult child. For people with a shorter print history, we may not be able to offer financial support, but they will still be eligible to use our helpline, even if they need help on their first day in the industry.
Asking for help isn’t easy, and now more than ever it’s vital that we ask our friends and family how they are, and really listen to the answer. A lot of people will say they’re fine but, if you’re not convinced, ask again. It’s okay to ask twice.
If you are connected to our industry and need support, speak to our Welfare and Wellbeing team.