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Men’s Health Week 2024

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Cropped View of a Two Men Doing Yoga.Men’s Health Week, held annually in the lead-up to Father’s Day, spotlights men’s unique health challenges. It’s a time to raise awareness, break down barriers, and encourage men to prioritize their well-being. Men’s Health Week 2024 aims to provide information about men’s specific health issues and tips and resources to help them stay healthy and strong.

Father’s Day is Around the Corner

Father’s Day comes just a couple of weeks after Mother’s Day. This timing provides an excellent opportunity for the community to engage with fathers, brothers, and sons and express appreciation for them. At the same time, it emphasizes the importance of their health and well-being within the family and community context.

More About Men’s Health Month

Men’s Health Month aims to raise awareness about men’s health problems and promote strategies for better physical and mental well-being. It addresses disparities in men’s health outcomes and advocates for improved health education and awareness among men. The goal throughout the month of June is to encourage men of all ages to prioritize their health, seek preventive care, and push for improvements in key healthcare issues affecting them.

Correcting Bias in Healthcare

Many areas of men’s healthcare have received less attention than women’s healthcare. A recent report by the British group GAMH (Global Action on Men’s Health) highlights this issue. The report, titled “Absent-Minded: The Treatment of Men in Global Mental Health Policy,” examines how men are considered in mental health policy and identifies gaps in addressing their unmet needs.

Mental Health

The GAMH report notes several alarming statistics:

  • The global suicide rate for men is more than double that for women.
  • Men consume nearly four times as much alcohol per capita as women.
  • Men often externalize emotional difficulties through antisocial, aggressive, or violent behavior.
  • Boys and adolescent males have higher rates of conduct disorder compared to girls, leading to mental and social impairments into adulthood.

Common mental health problems in men are often underdiagnosed and under-treated. Many men view admitting mental health issues as a sign of weakness, preventing them from seeking help. This issue is compounded by a lack of specialized knowledge in gender-based disease patterns for men and informed strategies to address male-specific health needs.

The GAMH report states, “Gender disparity was discussed in relation to the disproportionately negative effects of gender on the mental health of women. Only cursory references were made to the mental health needs of men.”

Prostate Cancer

A report from The Lancet Commission on prostate cancer, published on April 4th, 2024, predicts that prostate cancer cases will double globally over the next 20 years, rising from 1.4 million in 2020 to 2.9 million in 2040. This increase is driven by changing age structures and increased life expectancy. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, accounting for 15% of cancers. The report emphasizes the need for new and improved ways to test for prostate problems and for men to become more aware of prostate cancer symptoms through education programs that promote early detection.

Attitudes in Healthcare Training

Australia ranks first among OECD countries for equity and healthcare outcomes, holding third place for overall healthcare performance. However, a survey published on March 8th, 2024, revealed that doctors may need more training in gender-based health issues even in such an advanced healthcare environment.

The survey of fourth-year medical students showed that 65% reported minimal to no specific training on men’s health, and even more said they wanted more formal training. The Australian Men’s National Health Strategy (2020-2030) acknowledges the need to “improve practitioner core competencies in men’s health as a critical step to reducing the burden of disease in men and disparities between men in healthcare access and outcomes.” Men continue to die prematurely from largely preventable causes, including heart disease, lung cancer, road and workplace deaths, alcohol-induced deaths, and suicide.

Improvement requires not only better training for doctors but also addressing societal gender norms and traditional masculine behaviors, such as risk-taking and emotional stoicism, which impede men’s engagement with healthcare providers.

Drawing Positive Benefits from Men’s Health Week 2024

Men’s Health Month focuses on preventive measures, early detection, and proactive health management, encouraging men to take responsibility for their well-being. It aims to reduce the stigma that men who seek help for health issues are showing weakness, promote open dialogue, and empower men to make informed decisions about their health. Every year, we try to highlight how observance of Men’s Health Week can contribute to the overall well-being of our readers.

Men’s Health Week 2024 presents a valuable opportunity to prioritize men’s well-being. Encouraging regular check-ups, organizing educational sessions, engaging in physical activities, sharing health information, and supporting national men’s health organizations are all crucial steps toward creating a culture of proactive and holistic health among men.

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