Why is Australian male health so in need of attention? Why work on men’s health?
Because the health status of males in most countries, including Australia, is generally poorer than that of females.
More males die at every stage through the life course, more males have accidents, more males take their own lives, and more males suffer from lifestyle-related health conditions than females at the same age.
Meanwhile, men are less frequent visitors to general practitioners, and the perception is that they do not care about health or that health services are not well-prepared to interact with men effectively.
But that’s not what Men’s Health Week is about!
Men’s Health Week was started in the United States to heighten awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.
In Australia, there were small and localised Men’s Health Week events in Victoria and then in New South Wales from about 2000 onwards.
In 2002, the 2nd World Congress of Men’s Health was held in Vienna where leading men’s health organisations created the Vienna Declaration, which set out to establish:
- Recognising men’s health is a critical issue and that there are health issues which only affect men
- Promoting awareness of men’s approach to health
- Changing the way health care is provided to be more sensitive towards men’s needs
- Creating school and community programs which target boys and young men
- Connecting health and social policies to better pursue men’s health goals
In Australia, Men’s Health Week provides a platform for challenging and debating key issues in men’s health and to raise the profile of men, their health outcomes and health needs around the country each June.
The Australian approach celebrates the strengths of men, the contributions they make and the important role they play in society. It is as much as week of celebration and engagement of men with a serving of health on the side!
Generally, men do not openly talk about their health and their role in society, fortunately, the ABC is currently running the Australia Talks survey (www.australiatalks.abc.net.au) which can be used as a catalyst to spark your inner voice as to how you are feeling and thinking compared to the rest of the nation. From a Men’s Health perspective this can be useful to start the conversation with family and friends.
Here are a few interesting facts from the Australia Talks survey around Men’s Health and Wellbeing:
- 38 % of Australian Men have developed a better grip on their priorities since the pandemic
- 25% of the population report feeling frequently anxious. This figure was 21% in 2019.
- 1 in 5 say their friendships have improved during the pandemic
- Half of Australian Men don’t think Men and Women have a level playing field
- 76% of Australians rate themselves as happy
Please take a moment to do the survey with other members of your family and see how each other vary!
If you have found the information in this article useful then I would suggest you reach out to a local organisation call The Male Hug (www.themalehug.com.au). The Male Hug run educational workshops and have loads of resources available for free.