Join the chat: Men's Health Week
For Men’s Health Week, two of our Pathways to Care team members Emma and Sam, sat down to have a chat about men’s health and the barriers that can prove challenging. Is Telehealth helping change the landscape and encouraging more men to seek help? Please have a read and join the conversation. We would love to hear your thoughts.
Emma: Do you think there is a shift in males in your age group (35 - 45) with their thinking around physical and mental health and talking about it? I feel like there is, but maybe that is just the groups that I hear from.
Sam : I think in the last few years I have had more friends personally who have been willing to talk a bit more openly about their Mental Health in particular. I believe part of that may be due to a slight reduction in the stigma attached to seeing a Psychologist for example. I would say that it is a little bit more commonplace now that people seek some support, however, it has a long way to go.
Despite this, I think there are still serious challenges in the Mental Health space in particular. A really shocking stat for me to learn (from a friend who is open about their Mental Health challenges) was that 60% of men who die by suicide have actually sought help in the past year which shows so much more needs to be done apart from encouraging people to get support.
E: Delaying information is such a huge barrier for men getting on top of their health. From something that could start off small, but because it isn’t taken care of, it develops into a much bigger problem. Do you think it comes back to that old thinking ‘Man Up’ which is such an unhealthy way to look at things? Maybe technology can play a part here? There are so many doctors that are catering to men purely online. Do you think that this could help?
S: Yes I think this one is still a real challenge. I know personally that I don’t seek out help unless I feel something is very wrong. I think technology could play a part definitely. I think booking and waiting for a GP when you don’t have what you consider to be a serious problem is definitely a barrier or reason why men may not get on top of their health. I hope since we are all used to Zoom / Teams so much these days then perhaps that opens up opportunities for men.
E: What about the social construct of masculinity? Do you feel like things are changing here? Even just around your group of friends?
S: Probably slowly. Definitely around my close group of friends, but I think on a wider scale also. I think there is still a way to go, however, I feel that there has been a bit of a change. Men do have more trouble talking about their health than women, both historically and still to this day. I think the purely online services could really help this! No waiting in a waiting room, no in real life face-to-face.
E: How do you try and look after your mental and physical health?
S: I try and make time during the week to do things I enjoy that I know to take my mind off anything stressful. I try and go for a walk, play golf and spend time around family and friends. I ‘try’ to maintain some habits that help me sleep better by not using my phone much in bed and reading which often helps me get to sleep.
From a physical health perspective, I think I have been pretty poor in this regard of late. Other than walking for golf, I haven’t don’t enough physical activity which I know has benefits from a mental health side of things also. That is something I need to do more of and especially with winter and cold weather, it needs even more focus!
E: I think also knowing and detecting your moods is so useful in taking care of yourself. Something that men historically haven’t been good at.
S: No, I think I can be poor at this. I think also with the amount of negative news and media around these days it can be hard to focus on how lucky we all are and be grateful for what we do have. I think historically there has been no better time to live than now, so I think we have to somehow try and remind ourselves of that, no matter how hard it is at the time. I am very poor at following this sort of thing; however, I know there are heaps of great resources out there to help us be mindful and appreciative of these things. Maybe it’s something I’ll get better at in the future.