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Blokes, brains, balls and brawn: Engaging men in health initiatives at work

Martin ‘Milky’ Brookes, 55, from Stockton-on-Tees is married with two adult children who live at home. He works as a lorry driver for a North East chemical haulage firm. Martin experienced trauma as a child and has had therapy most of his life.


“My job has always been my saviour it was where I could focus and block out my childhood trauma, something I’ve lived with for all of my adult life. Recently I’ve had to reset 40 years of bad coping mechanisms. I found the peer to peer male support sessions through ManHealth have really helped make a difference.  I used to just keep my problems completely separate from my working life, but outbursts at work occasionally happened. The camaraderie and genuine support I get helped me massively.


“My employer has been very supportive; they have put me in touch with a service they had trialled, but it felt impersonal and ineffective for me; they essentially told me to re-read my therapists notes, there was no real engagement in the guidance I was given, for me it felt too generic.


ManHealth peer support on the other hand has been powerful - they’ve shown me coping techniques, the impact of nutrition, sleep patterns. They’ve helped me to better cope with myself. And for the first time I feel like I’ve got a group of friends I can take part in activities with, such as canoeing, sport in general and other group bonding work something I have never experienced before.”


How many Martin’s do you have in your workplace?


You don’t need to look far to find evidence that improving employee health is good for business. Many employers are now seeing the benefits of improving employee’s mental health and wellbeing at work, including reduced levels of sickness absence, lower staff turnover and greater employee satisfaction.


However, when it comes to equality there is a glaring gap between men and women’s health. 1 in 5 working age men die due to these 5, mainly preventable health problems. Suicide. Heart Disease. Prostate Cancer. Lung Cancer. Bowel Cancer


Yet, men’s health continues to be missing from workplaces’ mental health and wellbeing strategies, leaving many men feeling unrepresented and excluded from generic health initiatives at work.


Join Emily Pearson from Our Mind’s Work and Paul Bannister from ManHealth to gain insights and take aways to help you make your health and wellbeing initiatives inclusive for men and:

  • Engage your male workforce

  • Reach out to men at work

  • Tackle male specific stigma

  • Increase help seeking behaviour




Emily is a visionary and thought leader in the corporate mental health field. She is a corporate Mental Health Programme expert with 20 years’ experience and qualifications enabling her to work as a professional in the mental health, substance misuse and health and social care fields.


Emily has designed and delivered safe and ethical approaches to corporate mental health culture change programmes with synergistic outcomes from changing lives to return on investment, creating mass mindset change to community impact. Emily’s programmes have proven to work in all industries they have been embedded in to from emergency services and traditional male oriented industries to public services and blue-chip companies.

Emily has driven change throughout her career which all began after her own lived experience of severe mental health problems in her early 20s. Her recovery ignited her passion which has motivated her to provide education, support, treatment and guidance to thousands of people across the UK. From young people in secure and community settings, to adults with dual diagnosis and homelessness to four years ago focusing on employee mental health, bringing her 20 years expertise in to the workplace.

PEOPLE POWER is an event series dedicated to people:  to skills, training, HR, employment and workplace productivity.  


The 2022 conference is designed to help you focus on The People Agenda - to provide you and your team with the knowledge and skills that you need to ensure your workforce thrives, to improve performance, increase productivity and to help you compete effectively in the new world. 

The conference takes place 23 June 2022 at Northumbria University, Newcastle.