Connecting for Men's Health

Men's Health Week 14-20 June 2021.

These four guides have been developed to help health services and practitioners better understand how and why a male-specific approach towards men's and boys' health is recommended.

The guides are useful if you are looking to reach out to local men and boys more effectively in a health and community-oriented way.

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Practitioners’ Guide to Effective Men’s Health Messaging

This guide outlines how the design of health promotion programs should be based on research evidence that explores the complexity of links between men, masculinity and health, and be tailored to the respective audience. 


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Practitioners’ Guide to Men and Mental Health

This guide takes a mental health promotion, population health and systems approach to men’s mental health. Mental health promotion seeks to positively influence determinants of mental health through effective interventions.


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Practitioners’ Guide to Men and Their Roles as Fathers

This guide is primarily focused on engaging fathers in community services, health contexts and programs who otherwise are often less involved for a wide variety of reasons. It has been written to support health professionals to engage with the fathers in the family context.


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Practitioners’ Guide to Accessible Health Care for Men

This guide is intended to assist those working in health services where males are one of their client groups or the main client group. The information and tools in this guide will assist in improving men and boys’ access to services.



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:

    Men, Women And Familes
    • 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 partner, 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.
Medical Practitioners And Health Services
  • 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.

MHIRC has released a series of Resource Kits targeted at health practitioners. 

Download your copy today and learn more about how to effectively bring male patients to your service.

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How can we get more men involved?


The idea of producing health services that work for men and boys is gaining traction and acceptance around the world.

We've pulled together some examples of programs that others have found to work well in engaging men and boys in health.

Perhaps one of the most common questions people ask when they decide to run a program for male health is 'how can we get men to be involved?'

This can be a challenge for new programs as much as established ones. Based on discussions with people who have been there, we suggest the following broad principles.


  • Keep it simple. Make it fun (you could call it 'KISMIF'). Don't overthink what you have to do to make it 'healthy'. Think of activities that are likely to be fun for your target group.
  • Be ready for men whe they do come along. Make the service welcoming, use visuals that display dads and kids or real-world men in different settings and have a mix of male and female workers.


  • Ask yourself where and how men find information. Peer networks, friends, workplaces, sporting clubs and even wives and partners are often effective and low-cost methods of providing information.
  • Good events and networks often take time to establish so you'll need patience and persistence. The more effective ways of promoting are little and often, through networks and by low-cost marketing methods. 


  • Provide discrete but easy to access health information. Put it into a showbag rather than leave it open to pick and choose from - that way, blokes might take it home and have a quiet read.
  • If you're producing your own material, keep the wording short and to the point. Provide summaries of complex information if you have to.

Find out what other organisations are doing by visiting MENGAGE - the Australian Male Health Clearinghouse.


All this emphasis on the health of boys and men - what's that about?  They're alright, aren't they?

In many cases, the answer is no.

A boy born in Australia in 2010 has a life expectancy of 78.0 years while a baby girl born at the same time could expect to live to 82.3 years old.  Right from the start, boys suffer more illness, more accidents and die earlier than their female counterparts.

Men take their own lives at four times the rate of women (that's five men a day, on average).  Accidents, cancer and heart disease all account for the majority of male deaths.

Seven leading causes are common to both males and females, although only Ischaemic heart diseases share the same ranking in both sexes (1st). Malignant neoplasms of prostate (6th), Malignant neoplasms of lymphoid, haematopoietic and related tissue (7th) and Intentional self-harm (10th) are only represented within the male top 10 causes. Malignant neoplasms of breast (6th), Heart failure (9th) and Diseases of the urinary system (10th) are only represented in the female top 10 causes of death:

Deaths per 100,000 of population (2015)
Cause of death Male Female
Ischaemic heart diseases 38.9 47.4
Dementia and Alzheimer disease 35.4 42.9
Cerebrovascular diseases 35 35.5
Chronic lower respiratory diseases 32.7 23.8
Malignant neoplasm of prostate 25.5 -
Malignant neoplasms of lymphoid, haematopoietic and related tissue 20  
Diabetes mellitus 19.6 13.1
Intentional self-harm 19.3  
Colon cancer 18.8 13.3
Diseases of urinary system   10.3
Heart failure   10.7
Malignant neoplasm of breast   20.1
Cancer of trachea, bronchus and lung   23.5



Causes of death ratios 2015 (ABS Data)

The above figures are taken from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Furthermore, there are specific populations of marginalised men for whom the health status is far worse even that this.

These marginalised groups include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, refugees, men in prison or newly released from prison and men of low socioeconomic standing.

Men's Health Week has a direct focus on the health impacts of men's and boys' environments.  It serves to ask two questions:

  • What factors in men's and boy's environments contribute to the status of male health as indicated in the table above?
  • How can we turn that around and create positive environments in men's and boy's lives?

West Syd UniCHAMPIONING MALE HEALTH Brought to you by the Men's Health Information & Resource Centre

The Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre received funding from the Australian Government.


Men's Health Information & Resource Centre

Western Sydney University
Locked Bag 1797 Penrith NSW 2751 Australia

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