Men’s health is in crisis and it’s not being talked about. Men are dying six years younger than women on average, and every day we lose too many of our brothers, fathers, sons, and friends prematurely. There are many factors contributing to this, however research from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2010 revealed risk taking behaviour, and an unlikeliness to visit or report symptoms to a doctor, as the main causes for a lower life expectancy in men. The facts are clear, us men don’t talk enough when we’re not doing so good, we don’t act when there is a problem and, as a result, die too young.
The Movember Foundation is the world’s leading charity dedicated to men’s health, our mission is to stop men dying too young and we do that by investing in programmes and initiatives that tackle the most critical issues facing men today: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention. By 2030, we aim to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25%.
Globally we lose one man to suicide every minute and here in Ireland eight in ten suicides are men. Just think about that for a moment. One man a minute. This is totally unacceptable and something we can change by talking more openly about suicide and creating a world where men are not afraid to ask for help. Too many of us suffer in silence and seek help too late.
“Taking good care of your body and mind can make a difference in how well you do in college and how well you manage change.”
It’s never too early to look after your health. At college, you can start the healthy habits of a lifetime, that ensure you are taking care of your general health as well as mental health. If you are running to classes, studying, commuting to college, and working or taking care of your family, life can be stressful. If you are just starting college, the changes can feel overwhelming, and you may neglect your health. Taking good care of your body and mind can make a difference in how well you do in college and how well you manage change. Exercising, eating right, getting enough rest, and relaxing will help you do better, enjoy college more, and improve how you deal with life’s challenges. Caring for yourself may take a little extra time, but you will feel better and be more successful.
Prostate cancer rates are set to double in the next 50 years, already one in seven Irish men will be diagnosed accounting for 3,000 new cases every year. With early detection, the chances of survivorship are high, and with more treatment options, it is easier to mitigate some of the side effects that can come with prostate cancer, helping men not only survive their journey but live a happy life post cancer. However, too many men are detecting prostate cancer late, leading to more radical and narrow treatment options, more severe side effects, and lower chances of survival. It is imperative that men take ownership of their health, know the facts and seek help when something isn’t right.
70% of men say their friends can rely on them for support, but only 48% say that they rely on their friends. In other words, we’re here for our mates, but worried about asking for help for ourselves.
“Society tells men to show no weakness. This belief that to seek help shows weakness, or that expressing emotion is not “manly” is killing men.”
Society tells men to show no weakness. This belief that to seek help shows weakness, or that expressing emotion is not “manly” is killing men. We need to reframe this cultural perspective and break traditional expectations of men, we need men to engage with these health issues and change unhealthy habits. This will happen when it is accepted to do so, when it is seen as a strength to seek help when it’s needed, to express emotion honestly. A real man is in control of his health.
This Movember, hundreds of thousands of MoBros and MoSistas around the world join forces to raise funds and awareness for men’s health. By growing moustaches throughout the month, hosting fundraising events, and taking on physical challenges these Mo’s become walking, talking billboards for men’s health, paving the way to change the face of men’s health.
We all have men in our lives who we love. Help us create a world where men live happier, healthier, and longer lives. Go to Movember.com and join the movement.
Jack O’Connor is the Movember Ireland Country Manager.