As November draws to a close we wanted to take a moment to recognise Men’s Health Month or ‘Movember’ - during November men around the world grow a moustache, and women step up to support them, all to raise awareness and funds for men's health – specifically prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. ‘Movember’ is successful in providing the opportunity to highlight issues facing men’s health and well-being.
Did you know that globally, men die on average six years earlier than women? And usually, it’s for reasons that are largely preventable. Which means that it doesn’t have to be that way: we can all take action to live healthier, happier and longer lives. We have compiled some simple steps men can use to help prioritise their own health and some tips for others to be a supportive advocate for men’s health.
1. Get out and get active
According to Men’s Health Week, men who are inactive are 60% more likely to suffer from depression than those who are active. But what if you work long hours or lead busy lives? The good news is that even a short walk, even just 15 minutes daily, can improve your emotional wellbeing. So maybe try a brisk walk at lunchtime, walk to the shops instead of driving, try walking the dog more often or take the kids to the park at the weekend.
2. Understand that it's OK to seek help
Sadly, the stigma attached to talking about mental health is still prevalent, especially for men. Did you know that only 36% of referrals to the NHS on this topic are for men? Many men struggle to acknowledge they are experiencing the mental health issues that lead to suicide, and a recent study found that 70% of men avoid talking about their mental health all together. Don’t suffer in silence – talk to someone, if not a professional then your partner, friends or even colleagues. I can’t stress enough how vital it is that if you are experiencing persistent and overwhelming stress, anxiety and sadness that you do reach out to a professional to get help.
It’s vital that men go to check-ups to help indicate any health concerns. If you are aged 50 or older and have not been screened for colorectal cancer, you should. Of the various cancer screenings available to men, this one is the best because it can prevent, not just diagnose, cancer. If you don’t know your blood pressure, get it checked—and do whatever you have to do to keep it in a healthy range. High blood pressure, the proverbial “silent killer,” stalks systems throughout the body. Widespread damage occurs in the arteries, heart, kidneys, eyes, and brain. The ideal blood pressure is less than 120 over 80.
4. Listen to your body
If you experience an unusual pain, ache, or other possible warning sign or symptom, don’t brush it off—as some people are prone to do, seek medical assistance. Or if something is worrying you and you are unsure whether to go to the doctors, speak to a family member or friend. They can help to support you if something is concerning you.
Earlier in the year menshealthforum.org launched the CAN DO challenge which focuses on the five ways to wellbeing, which are five things we can all do that are scientifically-proven to help us feel better.
The Five Ways to Wellbeing are:
CONNECT - Feeling close to, and valued by, other people
BE ACTIVE - Taking part in regular physical activity
TAKE NOTICE - Being aware of what is taking place in the present.
LEARN - Continuing to learn throughout life
GIVE - Participating in social and community life.
If you want to know more about the CAN DO challenge or the "five ways to wellbeing" please visit https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/can-do-challenge