Prioritizing Men’s Mental Health for Workplace Success

Men’s Mental Health Month serves as a vital reminder of the pivotal role mental well-being plays in the lives of men, particularly young men. While mental health is a universal concern, the challenges and barriers young men face are distinct from those experienced by their female counterparts. Society’s expectations coupled with traditional gender roles often make it difficult for men to openly express uncomfortable emotions and seek help when needed.  


Furthermore, young men face heightened risks when mental health issues go unaddressed. The National Institute of TIMES Mental Health (NIMH) reports that suicide rates among men are approximately four times higher than among women. Alarmingly, suicide is the second leading cause of death among males aged 15-24, underscoring the critical need for proactive mental health care in this demographic. 


However, when young men can prioritize mental health and take proactive steps to care for themselves, they unlock a newfound sense of confidence that transforms their lives, both personally and professionally.  


This increased confidence is particularly evident in the workplace, where young men who have had the opportunity to prioritize mental well-being show up differently, exuding self-assurance, self-confidence, and resilience. As a result, these men thrive in their careers: advocating for their needs, tackling challenges head-on, and seizing all opportunities for growth and advancement.  


“When we prioritize mental well-being, we empower our employees to bring their authentic selves to work. This not only enhances individual growth but also drives the collective success of our organization,” remarks Allan Maonga, Head of People and Diversity, Next Step Foundation. 


By recognizing the crucial connection between young men’s mental health and workplace success, we can empower this demographic to break free from the stigma of mental health care, embrace vulnerability, and lead more fulfilling lives.  


In East Africa, the conversation around men’s mental health is gaining momentum, as more people recognize the importance of addressing this often-neglected issue. According to a study by the African Journal of Psychiatry, depression affects approximately 15% of the adult population in East Africa, with men being less likely to seek help due to societal stigma and cultural norms. 


The impact of poor mental health on the workplace is significant. A report by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy one trillion USD annually in lost productivity. In East Africa, where mental health resources are not yet plentiful (Africa has 1.4 mental health workers per 100,000 people, compared with a global average of 9.0 per 100,000) the cost is even more pronounced. However, when young men are encouraged to prioritize mental well-being, they develop the confidence and resilience necessary to thrive in their careers. 


To foster a supportive environment, employers in East Africa are beginning to implement mental health programs and policies. Such initiatives not only benefit the employees but also contribute to the organization’s overall success. 


By prioritizing the mental health of young men during this month and every month, we can create a more inclusive and productive workforce in Kenya. When young men feel encouraged, supported, and empowered to take care of their mental well-being, they bring their best most confident, and productive selves to work. As we endeavor to continue to raise awareness and break down stigmas surrounding men’s mental health together–we lay the foundation for a brighter more successful Kenya for all. 





1. Suicide Rates Among Men: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): 


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