With males generally fairing worse than women in the realm of health, Men’s Health Week (10-16 June) presents an opportunity for Australian men and boys to implement steps toward taking better care of themselves.
Improving men’s health is a two-way process involving men, women and families, and health services.
It is important for men to make use of health services to manage their health preventatively and find out before it’s too late.
In the mental health realm, Marathon Health is encouraging men to seek help when something’s wrong.
Research shows that men are far more likely to die by suicide than women – with statistics even higher for males living in rural and remote communities.
Gerrit Williemse, psychologist at Marathon Health, says stereotypes that suggest men bottle-up their emotions and handle things alone are completely unrealistic and damaging.
“The real strength is telling someone you trust that you aren’t doing well,” Dr Williemse says.
“It’s asking your mate if they’re okay, and it’s knowing the signs and symptoms for mental health concerns. Most importantly, it’s reaching out for support when you need to.”
Some tips for managing mental health include: reaching out to family, mates or colleagues; talking to your doctor; understanding that alcohol and other drugs can make things worse; and increasing physical activity.
The Heart Foundation’s message this Men’s Health Week is for men and boys to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Heart Foundation ACT CEO Tony Stubbs says more men have heart disease and are at risk of a fatal heart event than women.
“Men aged 18 to 34 are more than twice as likely than their female counterparts to have four or more risk factors of heart disease.”
Mr Stubbs says The Heart Foundation is focusing on encouraging men to get out and walk as part of an effort to live a healthier lifestyle.
“Over 30% of men in Australia have high cholesterol and almost 75% are overweight or obese … Walking is a great way for men to reduce these risk factors,” Mr Stubbs says.
According to The Heart Foundation, the four key steps we can all take to reduce the risk of developing heart disease include: getting a heart health check; being more active more often; eating a heart-healthy diet; and quitting smoking.