Have you had a health check recently?

The statistics on the state of men’s health, make it abundantly clear why Movember and International Men’s Health Day are important.

Australian men are experiencing more disease and are dying because of disease at a higher rate than other genders. The rate and death of cardiovascular disease is 80% higher, cancer is 40% higher and mental illness is 10% higher.  Sadly, men also account for 75% of deaths by suicide. Poor health literacy, cultural beliefs and social norms create barriers that prevent men seeking health care.

The challenges facing men, their families, employers, and health providers are broad, and require a multi-faceted and holistic approach.

The Australian Medical Association advocates for a range of changes in how health services are delivered. They encourage outreach services, flexibility and diversity in approach, stronger meaningful relationships between GPs and their patients, teaching boys and young men important health factors early to enhance help seeking behaviours.

Workplaces are another avenue that can help remove the barriers to men seeking health care. Be.Bendigo and McKern Steel are partnering to raise awareness about men’s health, the importance of seeking help, seeing your GP and not ignoring the signs.

McKern Steel host guest speakers and provide their employees easy access to men’s health information in the lunchroom, noticeboards, and regular communications.  This approach supports informal conversations with male employees about health matters. Sometimes simply talking can be a great form of support.

McKern Steel have invited Peter Strange from Bendigo Community Health Services to talk to their team about the importance of health management, seeking help early to prevent chronic disease and poor health outcomes. It also makes sense that men will be more open to talking to other men and male medical practitioners about their health needs.

Bendigo Community Health Services recommend adopting a range of tactics to address men’s health in the workplace

  • Walk and talk because many men prefer talking shoulder-to-shoulder, or while engaged in an activity, rather than face-to-face over a desk or coffee table.
  • Keep the conversation informal, relaxed and in a private setting.
  • Provide easy access to useful information (such as posters and brochures), so men can find contacts for services on their own.
  • Look for opportunities to bring specific health services to your workplace. This can help raise awareness and make it easier for men who need to see a health professional.
  • Share internal communications around national events e.g. Movember, Dry July, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Leveraging these days act as reminders to book in check-ups or encourage men to participate in activities which spark conversations around health.

Bendigo Community Health Services (BCHS) – Men’s Health Clinic

Local services for Men’s Health include BCHS Men’s Health Clinic. The clinic specialises in helping men better understand and manage their health needs.  BCHS male men’s health nurse practitioner can provide annual check-ups, health assessments, information, and support to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle.

A 45-minute consultation is all that is needed for a complete health check. The consultation is confidential and free of charge.

Some of the issues we cover include:

  • Cholesterol
  • Diet and exercise
  • Blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Family history
  • Prostate health
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Bowel cancer
  • Mental health
  • Alcohol misuse
  • Immunisation
  • Sexual health
  • Sexually transmissible infection testing

To book an appointment at the BCHS Men’s Health Clinic, call 5406 1200.

Article contributors:  Siobhan Sullivan, Peter Strange, Sharmi Cantwell

 

References

Male Burden Factsheet

AMA 2018 Men’s Health Position Statement

WorkSafe Tasmania,2020


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