Diversity and Inclusion

Men’s Health Week | 13th – 19th June | Let’s get rid of our stiff upper lip and talk!

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When it comes to prevention and early detection, men’s health is not taken seriously. As we see statistically, men pay less attention to their health than women do (King Edward VII Hospital, 2019). Men also are more likely to smoke, drink, take more risks and generally lead a less healthy lifestyle. Men are still just as susceptible to cancer, depression, stroke, diabetes, and heart diseases. In addition to these risks, men also have unique issues such as prostate cancer. Early detection and preventative measures are key. Early detection generally increases the chances of successful treatment. However, many men do not want to admit that they have an illness or see being ill as a sign of weakness. This type of thinking is outdated, a remnant of previous generations that doesn’t speak to the current understanding of mental health and wellbeing. It all stems from the way men were brought up – to be strong, tough and not to complain.

 

A survey carried out in 2019 by King Edward VII Hospital found that,
“A bad experience can put men off from returning to their GP. In fact, 1 in 10 men cite a bad previous experience as a reason to not go to their GP. This rises to as many as 1 in 5 for younger men. And over a quarter of men have appointment anxiety when they do book. With too many men (24%) ignoring treatable yet potentially life-threatening symptoms such as lumps, this leads to men taking risks with their health or not receiving the support they need in times of crisis. And men do still feel embarrassed to go to their GP about a medical concern that affects their sexual health”. (King Edward VII hospital, 2019).

https://www.kingedwardvii.co.uk/health-hub/mens-health-attitudes-are-still-changing-for-the-better-but-were-not-there-yet

 

Men are three times more likely to take their own lives in the UK, with suicide being the single biggest killer of men under 45.

Men can face many barriers which make it tough for them to open up about mental health. Fear of stigma and societal expectations can mean men often avoid talking openly about their emotions to family, friends, or in the workplace. They may be worried that it will affect their image of themselves as ‘real men’. Compared to women, men are less likely to admit there is a problem and access support as they see this as a sign of weakness. For these reasons, men may be less able to recognise symptoms of mental health problems and they are often under-diagnosed.

When should I ask for help?

If you’re worried that someone you care about may be struggling, or you think that you need help, look for these signs that indicate a need for outside assistance:

  • change in mood
  • difference in work performance
  • weight changes
  • sadness, hopelessness, or anhedonia (a loss of pleasure and pulling away from things that used to provide enjoyment)
  • physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomach issues

If you recognise any of these symptoms try to schedule an appointment with your GP. Going to your GP does not mean that you are weak. It means that you are taking care of yourself. Early detection and preventative health measures can help you obtain your best health and enable you to enjoy spending more time with your loved ones.

It is OK to ask for help, whether for yourself, your loved ones or anyone you think may need it.

And for those who have overcome mental health obstacles in their own lives, don’t be afraid to share your own stories. Sometimes reducing stigma means

talking about the times we’ve needed to ask for help ourselves.

If scheduling that appointment seems too daunting, give Mind or Samaritans a call. They are trained to listen and will signpost you in the right direction.

Please refer to the links below for more information and support:

Mind – provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
https://www.mind.org.uk
Infoline on 0300 123 3393
Email info@mind.org.uk
Find more information on their helplines page

Samaritans – they listen and provide support without any judgement or pressure.
https://www.samaritans.org/
Tel: 116 123
Email jo@samaritans.org

Men’s Health Forum
https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/mhw

NHS
https://www.nhsprofessionals.nhs.uk/health-and-wellbeing/helpful-links/mens-health-week

For further information, please contact
Helen Choudhury
Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
Helen.choudhury@mpagroup.com

 

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