Men's mental health

BALM: A scalable behavioural solution to improve the mental health of men using a gender-sensitised behavioural intervention

The Problem:  Problems such as depression and anxiety are very common in male dominated working environments and often lead to sickness absence and burnout.  For men in particular alcohol problems and higher rates of suicide are seen, when compared to women.  Men are often reluctant to acknowledge or seek help for mental health concerns.  There were increasing concerns during the COVID pandemic and we sought to find a scalable solution to the problem of mental ill health in the male workforce. 

The BTx Lab solution: By targeting men in frontline NHS services, we designed and  delivered a ‘gender sensitised’ behavioural intervention.  Working with people with lived experience we used behavioural approaches to intervene early in an at-risk target group, preventing the development of mental ill health.  We used behavioural techniques to enable rewarding & structured activities and to maintain social networks.  We worked in partnership with a leading men’s health charity to design the Behavioural Activation for Low Mood [BALM] intervention and tested this in NHS frontline services during and following the COVID pandemic. 

What we found & key publications.  BALM was acceptable for men working in frontline services.  They valued and engaged with the BALM intervention.  They told us ‘It’s really relaxed, it’s not clinical. It sort of puts the onus on yourself to make the changes and it’s quite individualized, so even though it’s a structured programme, it’s really to adapt to your lifestyle.” (Emergency Care Clinician)

How this research was funded:  The BALM study was supported by MOVEMBER in 2021. 

BTxLab partnerships & impact in men's mental health

BTxLab are working collaboratively with several corporate and industry partners to translate our evidence into bespoke employee well-being solutions that hit key gaps missed by current services. Central to our approach is tailoring services specific to the mental health challenges in the workplace, which are estimated to cost the economy £28 billion annually.

Men's mental health in football

Leeds United Football Club & BTxLab

BTxLab is working in partnership with Movember and Leeds United Football Club to co-design a tailored mental fitness programme which supports young male professional footballers to develop healthy routines and schedules that optimises wellbeing and performance.

BTxLab partnership with industry

Cadent Gas & BTxLab

BTxLab are working with Cadent Gas to pilot an evidence-based proactive mental health programme, designed specifically to help their male employees maintain good mental health and wellbeing. 

Partnering with the NHS to improve workforce mental wellbeing

Funded by Movember, BTxLab are implementing the BALM programme in a scalable, ready-to-use format within broader NHS staff wellbeing infrastructure and systems of care to support the mental health of male frontline workers in the NHS.

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