Improving men's health outcomes is a two-way process involving men, women and families, and health services combined.
It is important that men make use of health services to preventatively manage their health and find out before it's too late if problems exist. But equally, health services need to know how to reach out to, communicate with and engage with men to be effective in helping them when they do come through the door.
It's a two-way process that is about creating environments that support the ability of men to access healthcare effectively and support health services to treat men effectively.
Here are some ideas to how both parties can create an environment that enables each to improve men's health outcomes:
- Be active in getting medical help if you don't feel well, have a problem that won't go away or notice unusual symptoms.
- It's OK to seek help - don't try to do everything on your own or bury problems. Talk to your wife, friends and workmates.
- Push hard to get the help you need to manage your life, work, family and financial needs.
- Ladies, be proactive in helping your men and boys get the help they and you need. Use available hotlines, speak with professionals to get the best course of action and be persistent.
- Don't leave it too late to seek help. Fear is not a killer.
- Consider how you market to men - find out about men-friendly practices and tailor your services to include men's needs.
- Get to know your patients and look out for broader signs of problems that men may not voluntarily disclose.
- Reach out to men through community events and organisations - not only will it help your service to gain goodwill and clientele but it will reinforce the need for men to consider your services.
- Work with other health services and professionals to coordinate men's health initiatives. We know you are busy and time-poor and they may be able to provide assistance.
- Help men, women and children understand the kinds of problems and symptoms you are seeing in patients that they should be mindful of.
This is just a start. But it's about creating a healthy environment that supports men and services to achieve good health. Treatment of problems is much more difficult.