6 June 2024 · General

A big week for men’s health

Health and wellbeing should be a high priority for everyone and that's why in June each year there's a global spotlight on it for the menfolk with International Men’s Health Week. It provides a platform to highlight the challenges men and boys face, focusing not just on physical health, but mental health and emotional wellbeing too. Ultimately, it aims to promote and deliver the support needed with programs and events that are ongoing throughout the year.

At a time when many industries in Australia are under enormous pressure across the board with labour shortages, supply chain concerns and escalating material costs, stresses on the health of the workforce are showing more cracks than ever before.

Many male-dominated industries like trades, transport and logistics, warehousing, and others are all feeling the heat. Demanding performance expectations, long hours, time away from home, burnout, poor eating habits and lack of exercise are all contributing to serious issues with the mental and physical health of the male workforce.

Men’s figures aren’t looking good

According to a study done by the Australian Institute Of Health and Welfare, when it comes to discussions around men’s health, there’s cause for concern.

Across the globe, men’s life expectancy is now significantly lower than women. And it’s the same here in Australia. Alarmingly, statistics show Australian men are almost twice as likely to die from heart disease than women.

Men are carrying a few too many kilos as well, with studies showing that seven out of every ten are overweight or obese. This figure is the same as the number of older men in Australia who rate their health poorly when considering their physical, social, emotional, and mental wellbeing.

Making matters even worse is one in two men experience symptoms of a mental health disorder with the disease burden linked to mental and substance abuse disorders.

Stop being a man

Even with their health in such a state, men sadly still tend to shrug it off, thinking they can push through, manage the pain, and take charge of the situation themselves. They’re less likely to seek medical advice or attention which puts them at risk of undiagnosed conditions and delays in treatment.

And that’s where global initiatives like Men’s Health Week do such a great job. It’s tools down and men’s health issues up. It encourages men to stop putting their health issues to the side, put their job and everything else second, and their health first.

The check is in the male

Most men think nothing about getting their vehicles regularly serviced to keep it tip-top and on the road. Yet, when it comes to their health, they let it go until there’s a break down and need of repair.

So, book yourself in for a service, let your health professional get under the hood, see what condition you’re in, and get the necessary parts if needed.

Heart Health
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) accounts for 26% of male deaths every year in Australia. Regular heart health checks will keep an eye on blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of stroke or heart failure.

Prostate Check
While the thought might make your eyes water, it’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian men, so get it checked regularly.

Skin Cancer Check
Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Melanoma is the third most common cancer in men, after prostate and bowel cancer. The sooner a skin cancer is identified, the more effective the treatment.

Bowel Health Check
Bottoms up. More than 8,500 men are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in Australia. No matter what your age you should get a check-up. The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) sends out a test kit in the mail every two years if you’re aged between 50 to 74.

Depression Test
If you’re showing signs of anxiety or depression, you can speak to your GP who’ll talk to you about your symptoms, perform tests and refer you to a mental health specialist if necessary for treatment.

Keep in shape

On top of these preventative health checks and screenings, there are quite a few things you can do yourself to keep your physical and mental health in good nick.

  • When it’s break time, take the time, take a break. Get out of your seat - desk or driver - and get the blood pumping. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, get in some exercises, have a good stretch. Make it 15 mins every day.
  • Don’t put that in your mouth! Keep an eye on your food choices. You’ve heard it all before, but fresh fruits and veggies, and healthy food are the way to go. Step back from the fast food. It’s not good for you at all.
  • Rest up. Switch off. Get a good night’s sleep. Recharge. It’s good for your brain health. And your physical health too. You recharge. You feel better. You do better.
  • Take time out to chat with your closest, your family, your mates even a colleague. A good chinwag can lift your mood as quick as you can say ‘Hello’.
  • Make your workspace about your headspace. Stick up reminders of your loved ones or friends. Nothing like a family photo to get you through your day.

When you need a manly hand

The good news is there are quite a few helping hands out there for men, each doing their bit to address a range of physical and mental health issues affecting men in Australia.

Movember has become an incredible force in the fight against prostate cancer. Their initiatives are helping to make a difference in mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer.

The R U OK? Initiative is helping to change lives with a simple question and the start of a conversation. It’s providing a few resources men can reach out to, helping to tackle mental health issues and get the support they need.

Beyond Blue are giving men someone to talk to about their anxiety and depression, and offering professional support, resources, and invaluable programs to help with mental health issues.

And even our own government have put funding, dedicated resources, and implemented a national strategy to address and develop programs to support men’s health and wellbeing across the board.

You should be all talk

Men’s health isn’t just a man thing. It’s an everyone thing. It affects all those around you.

A chat can make all the difference. Your mum, your dad, your partner, your close mates. They know you better than anyone else. A good pair of ears can be just the thing to get things off your chest and headed in the right direction to get the help and support you need.

More and more organisations across Australia are implementing programs to promote a healthy workplace culture to help support men’s health and wellbeing. From education resources and training programs to physical activities and routine health checks, there are plenty of initiatives being put in place to help improve the working environment both internally and with the help of outside organisations.

Speak to your employer about the men’s health issues that may be happening in your workplace and work together to implement programs to give men the support they need.


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