Helix Healthcare Group was currently invited to be part of a live twitter chat with #MensHealthWeek. We took an in-depth look at mens health, answering important questions and sharing in the discussion. Here are our answers.
Q1: What are the most significant men’s health challenges in the country you live in?
A1: On a physical level, some of the most widespread health challenges facing men in Canada are hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. What are often largely over looked are the mental and emotional challenges that are highly correlated with physical health. Stress, anxiety and depression are some of the most common, and under treated, issues facing society at large, and have major impacts on our physical health and overall wellbeing.
Q2: What are the most significant men’s health challenges globally?
A2: While the specific issues facing men globally are strongly influenced by the environmental, social and economic realities of their worlds, one issue that is largely without borders is a stigmatization surrounding seeking help. Men in particular often internalize a belief that strength is associated with being fiercely independent, and that there is a weakness in getting help. This perception greatly influences men’s willingness to seek treatment and acts a major barrier to care.
Q3: Are there communities of men (LGBT, minority, boys, etc.) facing unique challenges? What are they?
A3: Minority communities feel the effects of such stigmatization even more greatly. With a greatly increased prevalence of shame, lack of self-worth and isolation among members of such communities, they are both more susceptible to mental and emotional struggles and less likely to seek treatment.
Q4: What are some of the biggest barriers facing men around the world who need to go to the doctor?
A4: Globally, a host of factors, from availability and accessibility to education and perception (or misperception) can act as enablers or barriers to men seeking and receiving care. While Canadian’s are lucky in some regards with respect to such determinants, there remains a large gap in the system when it comes to mental health. Psychological services in Ontario are largely underfunded, limiting availability and access to these services, and while advocacy groups are working to educate and reframe public perception of mental health, there is still a large amount of work to be done on this regard, which often leads to people delaying or not seeking treatment.
The first step is a reframing of the issues that create barriers to men seeking care, in order to allow for open communication around the health issues, both physical and mental, that they’re dealing with.
Q5: What are some ways we can improve communication with men about their health?
A5: The first step is a reframing of the issues that create barriers to men seeking care, in order to allow for open communication around the health issues, both physical and mental, that they’re dealing with. As longs as we collude with and perpetuate the notion that seeking help is weak, there are little opportunities for communication.
Q6: How are different government & intra-government organizations (eg @WHO) around the world addressing men’s health problems?
A6: Such organizations have a powerful platform to increase awareness around men’s health issues, and in so doing, helps to shine a light on the issue and break down barriers to health care.
Q7: What types of non-government organizations around the world can help address men’s health issues? How can they do that?
A7: Local and community supports, which are often more tapped into the specific needs and challenges of their demographic, are hugely important in addressing men’s health issues, while privatized organizations, free from the financial restrictions of governmental funding, are often able to offer more individualized, comprehensive care.
Q8: How can organizations specific to men or women around the world work together to improve global health?
A8: Demographic-specific organizations have a more detailed understanding of the specific, individual issues facing their communities, allowing them to better advocate for their constituents. When these groups have a forum in which to voice their concerns and work towards a solution, whether social, political or environmental, both local and global communities benefit.
Q9: What should be the role of Global Action on Men’s Health — globalmenhealth — specifically?
A9: The role of Global Action on Men’s Health should be to increase awareness and create discussion around the specific and unique issues facing men and their health – and in particular, the barriers to them seeking and accessing healthcare.
Q10: What do we imagine the state of men’s health to be, globally, by 2030? Are things improving?
A10: By 2030, it is our hope that men’s health will be drastically improved by a shedding of the stigmatization around getting help.