International Men’s Health Week is a great opportunity to grow our understanding of the health issues impacting men.
It creates an opportunity to explore the unique challenges men face in managing their physical and mental health and to promote strategies that break down barriers to good health.
Photo: Allambee, March 2019
Did you know...
- Men’s life expectancy is on average 4.4 years shorter than women’s
- Men take their own lives at 4 times the rate of women, equating on average to 5 men a day dying from suicide in Australia
- Men are less likely than women to see their GP, let alone a mental health professional.
Why? The familiar story is that men are traditionally raised with core beliefs and values around masculinity and stoicism. They are encouraged to believe that admitting a need for help is a weakness and a failing. Leaps and bounds have been made in breaking down these myths and in providing safe places for men to express emotions and seek help.
While acknowledging we are not going to change deeply ingrained generational expectations and behaviour overnight, significant progress has been made in the last 10-15 years. The breaking down of stigma around psychological health is relevant across gender, culture and community and there is still much work to be done.
Every good conversation around physical and mental health is a step in the right direction.
How can we encourage men to look after their health and be effective help seekers? What can you do?
Have a conversation
Men’s health organisation Movember have released some great conversation role play tools that both men and women might learn new skills from, found here: https://conversations.movember.com
It’s a practical resource providing guidance on having meaningful, productive conversations with men who might be struggling. There are 3 different ‘conversations’ one on financial hardship, isolation and loneliness and juggling work and family and you choose what to say based on the R U OK model of Ask, Listen, Encourage, Connect and are given feedback on the different ways a conversation might go.
We encourage you to have a go at having these virtual conversations to increase your confidence in having these types of conversations. For more facts and information on understanding these conversations, head to the Men's Health Week website.
There are several events happening around Victoria during June, you can access these here.
If at any time you are worried about your psychological wellbeing or the wellbeing of someone you know, there is always help available through:
Over this week we'll put out more information as to how to support yourself, your family and friends, and your colleagues.
Author: Daisy Cleland