Men, it’s your week, and it ends on your day, Sunday, Father’s Day. If you are a woman reading this, you may be wondering why men have an entire health week. The short answer is because men die an average of 5 years younger than women. It’s about good self-care. Did someone forget to tell them?
Men’s Health Week is in June, the week before Father’s Day. During this month, men are encouraged to take action for their health and educate themselves on the risks and preventative measures.
Men’s Health Week isn’t just for men, though. It’s also a time for women to encourage and support the men in their lives to get regular health checkups and practice self-care.
The overall goals of the week are to:
1. Increase awareness of preventable health problems for males of all ages
2. Support men and boys to engage in healthier lifestyle choices and activities
3. Encourage the early detection and treatment of health difficulties in males
COVID-19 has been tough on men. The covid death rate is much higher for men than it is for women, and the worry about job loss has led to increased rates of anxiety and depression.
Making men aware of their physical and mental health options and encouragement to take action can mean the difference between life and death.
Here are some things you can do to promote awareness of this week at your workplace. http://www.menshealthmonth.org/
Men are Human Too
It is easy for cultures to see men as superheroes. Strong, powerful, all-knowing beings who rarely get sick and work hard to provide for their family. But they do get sick, physically and mentally.
According to a study by the Cleveland Clinic, 60 percent of the male population refuses to go to a doctor until they are seriously ill, and by then, treatment may not be possible. The study reported that health is simply a topic men do not discuss. Instead, they talk about current events (36 percent), sports (32 percent), or their job (32 percent). Their health came in at a measly 7 percent.
It doesn’t have to be that way, especially
with the advances of modern medicine.
The top 8 leading causes of death in men are:
• Heart Disease
• Unintentional Injuries
• COPD (lung disease)
• Influenza and Pneumonia
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, yet men are 50% more likely to develop it earlier in life and die from it. This is due to excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, stress, lack of exercise and cholesterol. Sitting is the new smoking. So maybe mother was right when she banned smoking and said eat all your vegetables.
As you’ve been told a thousand times before, the key is eating more vegetables, drinking less, and getting out of that chair to move your body. Men are 50% less likely than women to maintain a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables.
Doctor visits are usually low, low, low, on a man’s to-do list. One of the goals of Men’s Health Week is to bring awareness and education to men about the importance of regular physical checkups.
Many fatal diseases like prostate cancer, colon cancer, diabetes and heart disease can be prevented with a simple yearly screening. This would give men a better chance of living a longer, healthier life.
Men Have Feelings Too
Mental health includes emotional, psychological and social well-being. Your mental health affects how you think, how you act, make choices and relate to others.
Most men don’t take mental health seriously, and due to social stigma, they avoid seeking treatment for a mental health disorder.
“Mental health is more than the absence of a mental illness-it’s essential to your overall health and quality of life.” National Institute of Mental Health
According to Mental Health America, 6 million of the 151,781,326 million men are affected by depression every year.
Even before the pandemic, men’s mental health was concerning due to the high number of men who die from suicide and the low number of men who seek mental health treatment.
Male suicides have been on the rise since 2000, with the main risk factors being substance abuse, unemployment, military-related trauma and social isolation. Increased stressors due to COVID-19 have only increased the rate of male mental health concerns.
The four mental health problems affecting men are:
3. Bipolar Disorder
4. Psychosis and Schizophrenia
Treatment options are available that will significantly improve quality of life. The social stigma of seeking mental health treatment is a major obstacle for men to seek the care they need.
Men are also less likely to practice self-care even when encouraged to do so. Don't forget to encourage them to seek help through their organization's EAP.
Self-care means that, as a man, you take the time to do the things that help you live well and will improve your total health. Self-care techniques help manage stress, lower your risk of illness and increase your energy.
You should incorporate at least 30 minutes of a healthy activity that will boost your mood. Self-care looks different for everyone, so it is important to find an activity that you enjoy.
Some tips for getting started with self-care are:
1. Get regular exercise
2. Eat healthily and stay hydrated
3. Make sleep a priority
4. Try a relaxing activity
5. Set goals and priorities
6. Practice gratitude
7. Stay connected
It will be trial and error until you find the combination that works for you, but when you do, stick with it. Your well-being depends on it.
If self-care isn’t helping and you still find you are struggling with your mental health, make an appointment to visit your physician. Don’t wait until your symptoms are overwhelming. Your physician can refer you to a mental health specialist that can help.
Men’s Health Week is an important step in bringing awareness to men’s health issues. Support the men in your life and encourage them to visit their doctor for a checkup.
If you are a man, taking care of yourself is one of the best gifts you can give your family. It means your quality of life will be better, and you will be able to be there for the people you love.
When you partner with Ulliance, our Life Advisor Consultants are always just a phone call away to teach ways to enhance your work/life balance and increase your happiness. The Ulliance Life Advisor Employee Assistance Program (a total Well-being Program) can help employees and employers come closer to a state of total well-being.
Infographic: Mental Health for Men. (n.d.). Retrieved from Mental Health America: https://www.mhanational.org/infographic-mental-health-men
kIPA, D. S. (2020, August 30). Male Mortality: Why men die earlier than women. Retrieved from The Oakland Press: https://www.theoaklandpress.com/lifestyles/health/male-mortality-why-men-die-earlier-than-women/article_e54454f2-c54b-11ea-931a-e3d665dacf28.html
Men and Mental Health. (n.d.). Retrieved from National Institute of Mental Health: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/men-and-mental-health/
Public Health in Action – A Silent Health Crisismen. (n.d.). Retrieved from men's health network: https://www.talkingaboutmenshealth.com/public-health-in-action-a-silent-health-crisis/
Talking a. (n.d.).