Between 10-16 June, communities and organisations across Australia will come together to celebrate Men’s Health Week – an initiative presented by Western Sydney University’s Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre (MHIRC) to promote health and wellbeing among boys and men.
The focus of this year’s campaign is to encourage general practitioners to be male-friendly and help men engage in regular conversations about their health.
Professor John Macdonald, Director of MHIRC, said the initiative — to be launched by the Australian Federal Police this week — is about raising awareness of the health issues faced by men and overcoming barriers to achieving good health.
“Men’s Health Week is a timely reminder for us all to focus on the wellbeing of the boys and men in our lives,” said Professor Macdonald.
“This year we have been working with general practitioners to equip them with resources to create male-friendly spaces, but more needs to be done to ensure all men have access to the support services they need.”
Dr Neil Hall, Assistant Director of MHIRC, believes of all the health concerns men are facing, the statistics around male suicide are particularly alarming.
“We know the suicide rate among men is increasing, with the rate of middle age men committing suicide now overtaking young males,” said Dr Hall.
“It’s vital that we raise awareness for the situational factors that can lead to suicide attempts. Apart from gender, some of the factors include unemployment, interrupted childhood or relationship breakdown and loss of loved ones. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also overrepresented in the suicide statistics, with loss of culture and dispossession of land crucial factors for this group.”
To raise awareness for Men’s Health Week, events — from barbeques through to yoga sessions and mental health workshops – are being held in every state.