International Men’s Health Week 2022 is being held around the world from June 13 to June 19.
It brings together leading men’s health organisations across the globe with the goal to increase awareness of male health issues and encourage the development of health policies and services specifically for men, boys and their families.
In Australia, Men’s Health Week is coordinated by the Western Sydney University Centre for Men’s Health.
Men’s Health Week focuses on not just on physical health, but also men’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. The week aims to highlight the health challenges faced by men in Australia and worldwide, with events to improve the physical, emotional and mental health of men and boys.
The theme of Men’s Health Week 2022 is Building Healthy Environments for Men and Boys – focusing on creating physically, mentally and emotionally healthy environments in the home, workplace and in social settings.
To mark Men’s Health Week 2022, the Australian Government department of health’s Healthy Male website has set out the five factors that prevent men from seeking information and support when it comes to health – both physical and mental.
The first is denial – or thinking that whatever is going on is not a big deal. That can include dismissing symptoms as a part of getting older. Healthy Male says: “When we miss the opportunity to act early, minor issues can become much bigger. It’s important to … seek out information and support as soon as you notice something is not quite right.”
The second barrier is delaying. Many men will wait to see if their symptoms go away before seeking help. Again, Healthy Male advises men to see a health professional sooner rather than later. Take a moment out from your busy life now, before the health issue REALLY starts to interfere with your life.
The third barrier for many men is being seen as weak. Healthy Male says: “Often boys and men have been taught to embody traditionally masculine traits of strength, independence and self-reliance … (but) health issues happen to everyone and speaking up about them is the strongest thing you can do.”
The fourth barrier is embarrassment. Many men are uncomfortable talking about their health issues, but they should remember that health professionals have seen and heard it all.
The final barrier is often not knowing what information to trust. Particularly in these modern digital times, with the advent of the so-called “Dr Google” and social media, sorting fact from fiction can be difficult.
Where can men reach out for support?
For medical issues, your GP or local medical clinic is the best first point of call.
Men and boys seeking help with mental health issues should contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, beyondblue on 1300 22 4636, or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.