Men’s Health Week is celebrated annually around the world from 15-21 June and presents a platform to highlight the importance of men’s health and challenge and debate key issues surrounding health outcomes and health needs
Coordinated by Western Sydney University’s Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre (MHIRC) in Australia, this year’s National Men’s Health Week is encouraging communities and organisations across the country to come together virtually amid COVID-19 and raise awareness for men’s health.
Throughout June, communities are being called on to host online events, share information and simply check in with the men and boys in their lives.
Examples include sharing a positive message about men in your life via social media and using the hashtag #Men’shealthweek, hosting a virtual coffee meet up, or getting in touch with your three best mates to avoid social isolation.
Dr Neil Hall, Director of the MHIRC, said many men were experiencing heightened stress due to isolation and unemployment triggered by COVID-19 and needed support now more than ever to ensure good mental health and wellbeing.
“This Men’s Health Week we are asking people to check in with the men in their lives – pick up the phone, send a text or get together online – to start an important conversation, and to share vital support and health information,” Dr Hall said.
“Everybody has a father, son, brother, partner, mentor, friend or colleague who would benefit from positive support. Sometimes men have less opportunity to seek out support and may have difficulty voicing their issues. By communities working together – people of all genders, cultures and ages – we can start to address these issues and improve health outcomes.”
This year’s Men’s Health Week is also raising awareness of suicide as the single most pressing issue in society for men and boys, with six out of eight people per day taking their own lives being male.
“There are many factors that contribute to this tragedy, but we know that social isolation, loss of land, relationship breakdown and unemployment are some of the crucial ones,” Dr Hall explains.
“The current pandemic is heightening some of these accumulated life stressors, making collective action to prevent suicide essential.”
Other events running during Men’s Health Week include a series of free live evening webinars on Facebook Live and Zoom where medical experts will answers questions from men about male fertility, sexual issues and overall body and mental health.
The webinars are part of the Healthy Male initiative that urges men to take a holistic approach to their health by seeing their GP for a regular physical check-up as well as a mental check-in.
Many physical issues experienced by men such as infertility and testicular cancer can have an impact on mental wellbeing, while on the flipside poorer mental health is often linked to physical problems.
“It’s a myth men don’t go to the doctor, they do,” said Healthy Male CEO Simon von Saldern.
“But not until they have a problem. We want boys and men to know that physical and mental health go together and regular maintenance of both will ensure not only earlier detection but diagnosis of many issues that go undetected.”
For men’s health information and support resources and further details on Men’s Health Week visit www.menshealthweek.org.au
For Healthy Male webinar topics and times visit www.healthymale.org.au/mens-health-week
For 24/7 crisis support call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.