Ben Hulson on why men’s mental health is important

This week we caught up with Ben Hulson, CIMSPA’s wellbeing lead, to discuss his experiences with mental health, what companies can do to help their employees, and what CIMSPA has on offer for its people.

“I’m a huge advocate for mental health from both my personal and professional experiences,” he said. “My friends and family have experienced mental health conditions, including myself.”

“I used to work as a residential care worker with children in care and saw most of them displaying mental health problems. This was not limited to the children, the staff too, suffered with their mental health. It was an incredibly taxing job. My goal now is to normalize the conversation around mental health and embed that into our already outstanding culture. I want people to be proactive about their mental health and wellbeing, not reactive.”

Ben sat down with us half-way through Movember, the campaign to promote solutions for a variety of men’s health issues – including mental health and suicide prevention – and really wanted to emphasise why it’s important for companies to prioritise mental health.

“Companies must support their employees and show they care about them. Putting people first should be the ethos at the heart of every company. If people genuinely feel happy and supported, they are going to want to come to work every day and feel valued. As seen in CIMSPA, this continues to have a positive knock-on effect with members and the partners we connect with across the sector. Evidence suggests that companies that prioritise their workforce’s mental health, have lower attrition rates, and their workforce become the staple of those companies, this is certainly the case at CIMSPA with extremely low staff turnover rates and exceptionally high staff satisfaction rates. Providing better services to their customer base. It’s as simple as that.”

According to research from the Mental Health Foundation, mental health problems account for the loss of over 91 million working days each year.

“We all have a responsibility to support mental health in the workplace. Peer-to-peer support is just as important to get things off your chest every now and then. I believe there should be dedicated individuals or people in every organisation who champion mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. It has also got to come from the top. If it’s not supported through leadership and management, and if people are not encouraged to talk about mental health, then I think employees might feel like they can’t speak up or seek professional advice. Line managers, senior leadership, peers, everybody should be advocates.”

Here at CIMSPA, we have extensive mental health support available for our employees, including:

  • An employee assistance programme with Able Futures – confidential mental health support and advice
  • BUPA private health insurance – employees can claim back money on prescriptions, counselling, and more
  • Healthy living allowance – money towards gym membership or exercise classes
  • A wellbeing committee – made up of mental health and wellbeing champions across the organisation in different departments
  • Unlimited annual leave – employees are encouraged to take time off when it’s needed
  • Perkbox – a benefits and rewards platform that offers free and discounted online classes in meditation and yoga
  • Cycle to work scheme – discounts on a vast array of bicycles to encourage better fitness
  • Wellbeing Lead – Ben is dedicated to delivering on the CIMSPA wellbeing action plan.

“The wellbeing committee runs lots of different initiatives through newsletters and other internal channels. We try to engage every person within the organisation. We encourage employees to exercise and take a restful lunch break throughout the day. We run book clubs and coffee mornings to drive engagement. We encourage screen breaks because we’re committed to making sure people are working at their best.”

When people working in sport and physical activity join CIMSPA, they get access to best practice with our sector partners like Mind, the UK’s leading mental health charity. Our training provider partners also provide endorsed CPD on mental health and raising mental health awareness, which you can find through the CIMSPA Directory.

Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity

CIMSPA's work enhances the career opportunities and professional development of the workforce operating in sport, fitness, exercise, leisure, gym, coaching, health and wellbeing. We achieve this through sector-wide engagement, membership, networking, events, directories and professional standards.


Incorporated by Royal Charter Charity registration number 1144545

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