Macho cultures have more of a stigma around mental health, says MP and doctor

Dr Dan Poulter has warned about the difficulties of a 'macho' culture in workplaces. Picture: LIBRAR

Dr Dan Poulter has warned about the difficulties of a 'macho' culture in workplaces. Picture: LIBRARY - Credit: Archant

Workers in industries with macho cultures face greater difficulty in opening up about mental health problems, an MP and doctor has said.

Dr Dan Poulter believes that while public awareness campaigns have encouraged more people to open up about mental illness, a stigma still exists.

And the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP, who also works as a frontline NHS mental health doctor, said: “There are certain industries where there is more of a stigma.”

In particular he highlighted the financial services industry and, in the past, the military – although he stressed the army has done a lot to combat the stigma.

And he said: “Any job that is public facing, it is much more challenging.

“For politicians and celebrities for example, it is hard for them to admit that they are unwell.”

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But he said high-profile figures, such as Prince Harry, have made a huge difference by speaking out about their own mental health challenges.

“I think there is a stigma around mental health still,” said Dr Poulter, who currently works in substance misuse services.

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“It’s been broken down to some extent by public awareness campaigns and more people have felt able to come forward.

“In the past, because of the stigma, people haven’t wanted to talk openly about their emotions.

“There’s now a greater awareness that people have to be able to talk about things.”

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