Men's Health Week 2014

Men’s Health in Australia is a deadly serious matter as the male mortality rate, particularly from disease and illness, continues to be considerably higher than that for women.  Grant Westthorp from the Men’s Resource Centre believes that the poor health status of our men is complicated by the fact that men are more likely than women to shy away from medical treatment of any kind, what he calls “reluctance with help seeking behavior”.  Their lack of health awareness and unwillingness to adopt a healthier lifestyle also disadvantages men in the early intervention, prevention and control of illness and disease.

 Improving men’s health makes social and economic sense as the impact of poor men’s    health can be felt by men’s partners, their families and the community. Australian males have a lower life expectancy than Australian females with male mortality rates higher than female mortality rates across all age groups. In general, men:

·         Are less likely to seek medical attention;

·         Are more likely to be overweight and obese, with the proportion increasing;

·         Are more likely to drink alcohol at high risk levels and

·         Are more likely to engage in risky behaviours in regards to drugs, violence, sport, driving and sex.

One of the most alarming statistics on male suicide is that the number of men killing themselves each year is actually higher than the national road toll but the issue does not get the same attention.

 Grant says that “research has shown that men have specific issues, they have more alcohol and other drug problems, they self-medicate, they engage in more risk taking, and they often don’t want to ask for help.  So some of the key health challenges are about reducing the stigma of being seen as weak and making existing medical help more readily available”.

 Males in our society are less inclined than women to take an active role in maintaining their own health, especially prevention and early intervention in the case of diseases and illness.  They are also less likely to seek professional help for problems, particularly those of an emotional nature.  Some of the social and cultural reasons for this are;

  • The Western definition of masculinity includes strength and silence (the ‘stoic digger’).  Men may feel that it is a sign of weakness or ‘femininity’ to seek help.
  • Males, particularly younger men, tend to act as if they are invulnerable.  This can lead to destructive behaviors such as drug or alcohol binges, reckless driving or other risk taking.
  • Women are more likely to have regular contact with doctors because of period, contraception and pregnancy issues.  Men don’t have a similar “system” that requires them to regularly see a doctor.  Maybe they should. Every 3 hours a man will die of prostate cancer which can be diagnosed by a prostate check and treated.

 In terms of appropriate help, it is important to remember that at all times the first point of contact should be a GP.  Don’t wait until symptoms are present, practice preventative health. Talk to your GP and find out what is needed to maintain your health. Visit your GP for a regular annual health check and create your own health history, it may just save your life!

 

As part of the Men’s Health Week the Men’s Resource Centre will be delivering the Well Man Wellness Check at the below locations to encourage men to visit their GP on a regular basis and create a health history.

 

Date

Location

Time

11th June Tuesday

Albany Community Pharmacy

10.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m.

12th June Wednesday

Amcal Pharmacy

10.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.

13th June Thursday

Dog Rock Shopping Centre

10.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.

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