Between the 12th-18th June, the world acknowledges Men’s Health Week 2023. This annual event is organised by the Men’s Health Forum and aims to raise awareness of preventable health problems that disproportionately affect men and encourage them to gain the courage to tackle their issues. The theme this year is ‘men’s health and the internet’ – which emphasises the impact of technology and social media on mental health.
Statistics show that one in five men die before the age of 65, with the causes being a combination of physical and mental health issues. Both equally as important as the other, we look at how men can identify and improve their health issues and overcome the hesitance we sometimes see when asking for help.
A health screen will give you the information, personalised advice and support you need to help you take control and improve your health. Regular health checks in typically healthy people may help detect underlying conditions or abnormalities and they can also assess your risk for future health issues and offer preventative measures. A variety of health checks are available for men-they may include:
- Prostate cancer screening
- Cholesterol and heart disease screening
- Diabetes risk screening
- Lifestyle examination and general physical health assessment
- Screening tests are a good preventative method for catching the development of diabetes at an early stage. It comes in the form of a blood test to check your blood sugar levels.
Everything in moderation
Reducing your salt and sugar intake is one way of improving your health. Having too much salt can increase your cholesterol and cause heart problems later down the line whereas too much sugar can lead to obesity and/or diabetes. Reducing your alcohol intake is another. As well as inhibiting your ability to perform day to day functions, consistent and large intakes of alcohol can cause liver problems.
Knowing the benefits of regular exercise is great, putting it into practice and fitting it into our busy lives is somewhat harder. But you might be tempted to think you have to exercise for hours on end to reap any benefit. Fortunately, that’s not the case. Walking for just half an hour a day can help reduce your risk for many health problems, including diabetes and cancer. Even better, add 30 minutes of strength training 2-3 days a week, can improve bone strength and help with depression and anxiety.
Society’s expectations and traditional gender roles play a role in why men are less likely to discuss or seek help for their mental health problems but with stats showing that three times as many men as women die by suicide and with men aged 40 to 49 having the highest suicide rates in the UK, never has it been more important to talk. While there isn’t a different sort of ‘male depression’, some symptoms are more common in men than women. These include irritability, sudden anger, increased loss of control, risk-taking and aggression. Men may also be more likely to use alcohol and drugs to cope with their depression rather than talking about it. They may use escapist behaviour too, such as throwing themselves into their work.
Communication and help
Being part of a group can boost mental wellbeing by reducing feelings of loneliness and detachment and whether it’s family or friends or maintaining healthy relationships with peers, talking through your problems and realising you are not alone in your thoughts, is often the first step.
Employers can encourage all employees and especially men, to talk more openly and offer guidance and support by promoting mental resilience and mindfulness. Employers can also consider reducing pressure on workloads, offering flexible working options and providing training for line managers when dealing with mental health issues. Having an open culture where asking for help is encouraged by managers can make it easier for male employees to come forward for support and by putting mental health on the agenda, employers can break down stigmas which stop men from asking for help.
For further information on Men’s Health Week and how you can help, please contact us here.