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Message from ACO Health, Safety, Environment and Wellbeing Chris Stephenson

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Men’s Health Week is celebrated worldwide in mid-June every year. It is a chance to shine a spotlight on men’s health and remind us what it means to be healthy. 

Message from ACO Health, Safety, Environment and Wellbeing Chris Stephenson

We all understand the importance of looking after our health and wellbeing. But even though we have all the information, our day-to-day commitments often lead us to brush off any health concerns as something we’ll address later. The old ‘it’ll be ‘right’.

This is even more apparent amongst our men.

Next week is Men’s Health Week, designed to encourage thought and discussion about what needs to be done to improve the lives and health of men and boys.

Why do we need to raise awareness of men’s health? The health status of males in most countries, including Australia, is generally poorer than that of females.

Some of the stats are pretty eye-opening, but we do need to hear them:

•          Men live six years less than women

•          Three in four suicides are men

•          Three in four road deaths are male

•          One in four men are socially isolated

As men it’s time we think about looking after ourselves as something that is important.

How many of our people jumped on a truck to fight fires over summer without a second thought as to whether they should?

Let me then ask you how many times have you thought about getting that niggle in your knee looked at or talking to someone about how you’re feeling, and dismissed it as not important at the moment?

Taking the time to care for yourself means you can better serve those around you, including your communities.

Here are a few things you can do to look after yourself, or pass on to the men in your life:  

  • Stay hydrated
  • Get the right amount of nutrition from healthy fruits and vegetables
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night which can lessen your risk of a heart attack by 60 per cent
  • Stay active – inactive men are 60 per cent more likely to experience depression than those who are active
  • Feel connected. Social connections and spending time with people who make us feel good is important. Being part of CFA, you are a part of a larger group who is working together to protect lives and property. This is a great social connection. 
  • Talk more. You don’t need to be an expert or feel like you need to fix someone. Being there for someone, listening and giving your time can be lifesaving.
  • Regular check-ups and screenings are necessary for men to protect themselves against injuries, illnesses and diseases that develop with age. Find out more  
  • Explore options for better work/life balance. Sleep, eating well and exercise can also help you to reduce and manage your stress levels.

CFA’s health portal is there to support you, covering a range of different health topics including common illnesses and conditions like cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes, as well as healthy lifestyle behaviours and interactive health promotion programs.

It steps through the range of services and programs available at CFA, including the newly-developed Health Ready Program, designed for staff based in our District offices.

CFA’s Wellbeing Support Line is also available 24 hrs a day on 1800 959 232. It’s free and confidential.

What changes will you make to improve your health and wellbeing this Men’s Health Week?

There are several events happening around Victoria for Men’s Health Week. You can find out more on the Men’s Health website.

Men’s health is the Health, Safety, Environment and Wellbeing team’s theme of the month.

Chris Stephenson, ACO Health Safety Environment and Wellbeing