Make a positive change for International Men's Day
International Men’s Day is recognised on the 19th November and provides an opportunity to consider some of the issues that may affect men in particular and the ways in which we can support their wellbeing.
It’s generally accepted that men can find it more difficult than women to address issues relating to their physical or mental wellbeing and are less likely to seek help. For example, men are less likely to visit to visit their GP or pharmacy than women (www.menshealthforum.org.uk) and research shows that only 50% of men feel comfortable discussing mental health issues (BITC, Mental Health at Work Report 2017).
To mark International Men’s Day, we’re encouraging you to make a change.
It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, but introducing small changes to the way you approach your wellbeing can make a big difference.
Here are just a few ideas for better health and wellbeing:
Start a conversation.
Men can be less inclined to open up about how they are feeling. It's OK to talk about feelings, emotions and mental wellbeing - make it a normal part of the conversations you have with colleagues and people in your social circle, just like you would with your physical health. Our ASK LISTEN TALK advice note from the Change Your Mind campaign has more tips on how to start conversations about mental health.
Order a soft drink the next time you’re in the pub.
Some men drink in ways that damage their physical and mental health. Moderating intake may help to reduce its impact. Further information and advice on alcohol use can be found at: Drink Work and Me, Addicition NI and Drink Aware.
Find out about the opening hours at your local GP’s surgery.
Find out about your doctor’s opening hours, because many surgeries now allow you to go there before and after work or at weekends.
Get your blood pressure checked within the next two weeks.
Getting your blood pressure checked is easy, quick and painless. Many pharmacies will do it, or ask the nurse at your GP surgery. High blood pressure can cause heart disease and strokes – but there are usually no obvious symptoms before this happens.
Show a doctor that lump, strange-shaped mole, or rash that’s bothering you.
Do you have a lump, strange-shaped mole, rash or other unusual thing that you’ve been ignoring? We’re challenging you to act now, and get it checked out by a doctor. It might be a false alarm, but it could be something more serious.
Try some fruit or vegetables you’ve never tasted before, or think you don’t like.
Many men don’t get enough of them. Taking your ‘5-a-day’ may reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.
Make at least one journey by foot or bicycle instead of going by car.
Walking, instead of using the car is an obvious challenge – it helps your health, your bank balance and the environment.
References: Men's Health Forum in Ireland
The Minding Your Head and Public Health Agency websites have lots of information on mental health and services available across Northern Ireland and the yourmentalhealth and Health Promotion websites provide similar information for those in the Republic of Ireland.
If you are in distress or despair you can call Lifeline in NI on 0808 808 8000 or Pieta House in ROI on 1800 247 247.