Men’s health week, organized by the Men’s Health Forum, is right around the corner–running from Monday, June 10 until Sunday, June 16, 2013. Us women may joke that men are the first to complain about a common cold, but they tend to be the last to come forward when it comes to more serious health problems. Men’s Health Week gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.
This year’s theme is, “You only live once, so talk to someone.” It focuses on men’s mental health, with the goal to increase awareness of male health issues by aiming to tackle stigma in men’s mental health and promote mental well-being and help-seeking.
Men and women experience mental health problems in roughly equal numbers, but men are less likely to seek treatment and be diagnosed for it–and the consequences can be fatal. According to the Men’s Health Forum, three in four people who commit suicide are men, with rates peaking around age 20 and again between ages 60 and 80.
The reasons for the higher male suicide rate are far from clear, but much of it may have to do with men’s coping strategies and willingness to seek help. Mind research has found that 37% of men are feeling worried or low–and the top three concerns are ones that many of us face today: job security, work and money. Coping with managing with a chronic disease, such as diabetes, can impact mental health too. Alcohol use and abuse as well as illegal drug abuse are more prevalent in men, and can also contribute to depression. Many men turn to substances, such as alcohol, or seek isolation when struggling.
If you are a man (or woman) and you are feeling down, you don’t have to go it alone. Seek help to stay mentally healthy–it’s just as important as physical health.
Throughout Men’s Health Week, the charity will be holding a variety of events. They will be launching new services to help men access health advice and there will be new publications available for health providers to assist them in engaging with men and boys to raise the awareness of mental health issues. Since the purpose of the awareness week is to promote health there will be lots of fundraising events taking place for the charity. To find a list of activities around the country please visit http://www.menshealthmonth.org/partners/activities.html. Also for more information about Men’s health week, check out the Men’s Health Forum website at http://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/mhw.
Written by: Regina Zorich, Southeast Missouri State University intern