Words: Moreton All Body Care
Men’s Health Week is from the 15th to the 21st of June this year. This is an important time to raise awareness about Men’s Health and to work together to strengthen the support system around men, providing opportunities for conversation.
To start off, here are some shocking facts from the Australian Men’s Health Website (https://www.menshealthweek.org.au/health-info/why-men-s-health):
● Men have a lower life expectancy than women (78yrs compared to 82yrs);
● Men have a higher rate of suicide than women;
● Men are more likely to die from intentional self-harm, as well as skin, lung or blood cancer.
Men’s Health Week discussion revolves around these two questions -
1. What factors in men's and boy's environments contribute to the status of male health like mentioned above?
2. How can we turn that around and create positive environments in men's and boy's lives?
One of the best ways to empower men (or anyone) to support good health, is by creating and fostering a healthy environment where seeking help is normal - a way of showing initiative and strength of the individual. If you notice something about yourself which is not quite right - whether you don’t find enjoyment in things that you used to enjoy; notice an odd mole on your skin; have some tightness in your chest or any other unusual symptoms - or whether you notice these symptoms in someone you know - a friend, family member, workmate etc. - then actively seeking medical advice is very important. Even if you start by having a chat with someone who you are comfortable talking to, then they might be able to assist you to gain further support, or sometimes this chat might be just what you needed.
If someone in your life comes to you to discuss an issue that they are dealing with, even if it doesn’t seem like a ‘real’ issue to you, or anything that could be life threatening, then it is essential that kindness and support is offered, to encourage the conversation. Sometimes what may seem like insignificant symptoms, could actually turn out to be early warning signs of something that, with appropriate help, could be resolved before anything serious comes from it. Also consider that potentially the individual disclosing information to you might actually have more to their story then they initially share and they are testing your response.
Remember that burying problems or trying to deal with them on one’s own can be detrimental - not only to the person with the concerns, but to the people around them too.
This year for Men’s Health Week you can make a difference for someone in your life - try asking a male friend, family member or workmate how they are going, if they are okay and coping with things in their life. Show them that you care with small actions or words. Sometimes this is all that is needed to encourage someone to reach out.
If yourself, or anyone you know, wants some further information, support or resources regarding men’s health then check out these -
● MensLine Australia (online counselling and forum for men) - 1300 78 99 78
● Dads In Distress (peer support for separated dads) - 1300 853 437
● SANE Australia (people living with a mental illness) - 1800 187 263 or chat online at sane.org