4 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MEN’S HEALTH MONTH THIS JUNE
Come June 18, we are swapping out our casual Friday workwear for casual Friday BLUE workwear! Why, you ask? June is Men’s Health Month – a time to raise awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.
We are wearing BLUE scrubs, scrub jackets, stethoscopes and more to shed light on the importance of male health and to encourage men to live longer and healthier lives. Wear BLUE day is our effort to raise awareness about men’s need to seek regular checkups, and to seek education for testicular and prostate cancer, or other serious health issues that affect men, like cardiovascular disease, skin cancer, lung cancer, diabetes, gout, and more.
We all know that women face many health disparities, but that doesn’t mean men don’t face their own challenges. They often experience health difficulties that can go unnoticed or neglected, so we want to take this opportunity to encourage men to seek necessary medical treatment and advice.
Here are 4 important things to know during Men’s Health Month:
Men Seek Healthcare Less Than Women
With a media-driven culture in the US glorifying superheroes like Captain American and Superman, there is an expectation for men to be tough and fearless. But this mindset teaches men to think that visiting the doctor is weak and unnecessary.
The Cleveland Clinic found that 40% of men go to the doctor only when they have a serious health issue, and never go for routine checkups. They also found that ~21% of men admit to avoiding the doctor because they’re too nervous to find out what might be wrong. This fear of diagnosis stems from pressure to hide weakness when really, being in denial of or ignoring medical issues will never make them go away.
Together, we can shift this trend by helping men know that there is nothing emasculating about seeking medical help.
1 in 9 Men Are Affected By Prostate Cancer
With ~175k cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in men each year (American Cancer Society), it is the most common cancer among American men. Though typically slow-growing, it is vital that they be screened for this as early as possible to avoid life-threatening issues and begin regular treatment.
Take advantage of other opportunities to show support for prostate health in September designated as National Prostate Health Month, and again in Movember (November) where men are challenged to grow mustaches to raise awareness and funds for prostate or testicular cancer research.
Through this we can change the face of men’s health. (literally)
Men’s Mental Health is One of the Most Stigmatized Issues
Further worsening the issue of men not seeking help is the stigma that surrounds mental health. The American Psychological Association reports that 30.6% of men have suffered from depression in their lifetime, but still worry that discussing their emotions with a professional only leads to discomfort through vulnerability.
This is why it is so important to encourage the men in your life to open up and share their feelings. They can break the stereotype to resist and truly discover the benefits of a healthy mental mindset. It’s not something to be feared, but rather embraced.
This is just one small, yet simple way to do your part to help improve men’s mental health.
Men Can Make Better Choices About Their Health
The numbers don’t lie - men drink and smoke more heavily and frequently than women. This leads to more serious health issues like lung, heart, and liver disease.
Men also don’t make the wisest food decisions when it comes to eating, avoiding fruits and vegetables, and leaning more toward meat and dairy. These unhealthy behaviors have led to a shorter life expectancy, where men, on average, are currently expected to live 5 years less than women.
The numbers speak for themselves and only continue to worsen. It’s time that men take better care of themselves because they are not nearly as healthy as they could be, and there are tangible ways we can fix this.
Even after June is over, it’s important that we continue the conversation to stop the stigmas and foster mental health because men’s health deserves just as much attention.
For more information, please visit www.menshealthmonth.org or Men’s Health Network, an international non-profit organization whose mission is to reach boys, men and their families with health awareness messages where they live, work, pray, and play.