(CMR) Deputy Governor and Head of the Civil Service Hon Franz Manderson, in his message for International Men's Day, has urged men to prioritize their physical health and break the stigma surrounding their mental health. Below is the Deputy Governor's message:
Today marks the observance of the 10th anniversary of International Men's Day (19 Nov) in the Cayman Islands. A global campaign celebrated in more than 60 countries worldwide focused on promoting the value of men to the world, families, and communities. International Men's Day provides a platform for us all to focus on the wellbeing of men and boys, raise awareness of organizations supporting men and boys' wellbeing, and promote positive conversations about men, manhood, and masculinity.
This year's theme, “Better relations between men and women,” is focused on improving gender relations and highlighting gender equality as not only a women's issue but one that impacts men and women. Within the Civil Service, International Men's Day highlights inclusion and ensuring that we are addressing issues affecting men and women whilst developing practical and meaningful improvements to promote gender equality.
Although mental health affects all genders, it is often overlooked in men due to societal expectations and traditional gender roles, leading to men's reluctance in seeking treatment and engaging in unhealthy behaviors. According to research, mental health problems affect both men and women, but not at equal measure. In England, 1 in 8 men has a common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorders, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, yet they are far less likely to seek help than women.
During these unprecedented times, and in our mission to be a world-class civil service, we have intentionally promoted the importance of supporting our employees holistically and ensuring that mental health is of top priority. Recently introduced measures such as Peer Coaching will strengthen leadership abilities as well as offer practical support to men in the workplace.
The introduction of flexible and remote working arrangements also offers men an opportunity to participate more meaningfully in family life than traditional working arrangements. Mental Health First Aid courses have been offered to a range of civil servants in various capacities to promote a better understanding of common conditions and provide guidance on how to engage in a thoughtful conversation on such sensitive topics. The Portfolio of the Civil Service also recently offered training to the core of human resource professionals to orient them to more effectively identify and address substance abuse in the workplace and to understand and manage the dynamics in and impacts of domestic violence, all of which will be of benefit to the health and wellbeing of our men.
During this month, I would like to challenge men within our civil service to prioritize their physical health and break the silence and stigma that has long surrounded mental health because men's mental health matters too. International Men's day is also an opportunity to celebrate positive male role models in your lives and the overall community and continue to leave positive imprints for the next generation by teaching the importance of values, character, and the responsibilities of being a man. Both men and women are encouraged to make a commitment to celebrate men's achievements, raise awareness against biases and take action for equality.
I encourage everyone to participate in the various initiatives organized by the Family Resource Centre in observance of this campaign. For further details, please visit the Family Resource Centre website at frc.gov.ky, follow the FRC on social media, email [email protected] or call 949-0006.