While all our guides on mental health topics are written with both sexes in mind, we wanted a special area of this site that dealt with issues facing men.
Statistically, men are much worse at talking about their health than women. Research also suggests that men prefer to seek advice and information about health conditions on the internet than rather than through their GP.
On these pages we set out to provide men with the information they require on different ‘men’s health’ issues. Knowledge is a powerful tool that can arm you with the facts to help you lead a healthy life and, where necessary, seek the professional treatment you may require.
Men are more likely to develop high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and to become dependent on alcohol than women. Despite this, men, on average, seek medical advice 20% less frequently than women. In a nut shell, men are more likely to need medical advice but are less likely to seek it.
Where women may be more happy to discuss matters of the mind and heart, men’s mental and emotional health needs may not be as openly discussed. Men may see mental health problems as a weakness or a flaw in their masculinity. These feelings can often be the result of feelings that they are the ‘provider’, the ‘protector’ and the stronger sex. Please remember that poor mental health is no more your fault than if you had a physical health problem and that seeking help for any health concern is a strength and not a weakness.
The reality is that as well as having their own physical health needs, men can suffer from a range of mental health issues even those that are portrayed as ‘women’s conditions’; postnatal depression, health anxiety and eating disorders for example can all affect men. Many psychology professionals believe that the higher rates of alcohol abuse, drug abuse and suicide amongst men is directly linked with the way they try and cope with depression and or other mental health problems instead of reaching out for help.
Men have less opportunity to learn about their body, health and how the health system works than women. Women have more exposure to the health system through attending family planning, cervical smears, antenatal care and childhood vaccinations. But the doctor’s surgery is not as scary as you might think.
When a mental or physical health complaint arises, instead of talking about it, many men internalise their problems, this can lead to anxiety and a fear the complaint is far worse than it may be. In most cases it is not going to be a serious problem but if it should turn out to be, then the sooner it is diagnosed and treated the better the chance of a complete recovery. If a problem persists for more than a couple of weeks and if ‘over the counter’ or home remedies are not working or if the problem is getting worse then it is time to seek some medical advice. If you are at all concerned about seeing a lady doctor simply ask to see a male doctor when you make your appointment.’
Fortunately over the last decade men are getting better at looking after their health. This has come about because much more is now written about male health and talking about it has become OK. Many male celebrities and sports personalities have been open and honest about a range of disorders ranging from mental health issues to testicular cancer. Many football clubs now openly offer help for players who are experiencing a range of mental health concerns. We hope that this section of our site can help you grow in knowledge and confidence to speak out if you have a health concern.