June is Men’s Health Month, a national observance used to heighten awareness about preventable health problems. The hope is that we will encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys, and raise awareness about men’s mental health.
According to the CDC, men have shorter life expectancies than women. On average, men die 5 years earlier than women and die at higher rates from heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide. Research also demonstrates that health disparities are more pronounced among boys and men of color as well as among sexual minority males. Many of these causes can be prevented and men can take steps to improve their overall quality of their lives and families lives. Some steps we can take to live longer and healthier lives include:
- Knowing the symptoms of heart disease
- Having regular check-ups by a doctor or health care provider
- Take care of your mental health by seeking support from a mental health professional
- Making healthy food choices
- Staying active
- Quitting smoking
Research also demonstrates that men are less likely to seek help and tend to also underutilize mental health services. During this coronavirus pandemic, it is possible that men and boys may not be protecting themselves or seeking services or needed help due to how we socialize men and boys to think about being “strong and tough.”
International Fathers’ Mental Health Day occurs every year on the Monday after Father’s Day to raise global awareness about the need to get better support for dads. Research demonstrates that during the perinatal period and early parenthood, 10% of new dads experience paternal postpartum depression; 50% of men if mom is depressed. This indicates that men are in need of support too! There are many organizations involved including International Fathers’ Mental Health Day, Men’s Health Network, and Postpartum Support International. You can learn more about International Fathers’ Health Day by checking out this brief video that the IFMHD Organizing Committee (which Dr. Singley helped to found) put together.
Something’s got to change! What can we do?
- TALK – get resources if you’re going through a tough time
- ASK – talk to a friend, family member or coworker who’s struggling
- LISTEN – to what your friend, family member or coworker is saying
- TAKE ACTION – following up with a friend, family or loved one are some actions we can all take to help
- GET INVOLVED – Follow us on social media for ways to get involved with raising awareness
Resources for Men
- To speak with someone immediately, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If it is an emergency, call 911
- Postpartum Support International’s Dads chat with an expert the first Monday of every month
- Connect with other dads with Padre Cadre
- Check out The Good Man Project as they address subjects related to dating, marriage and fatherhood
- Seek support from a mental health professional
Join us in bringing awareness to men’s mental and physical health, and who knows—maybe one day we will include all genders and go with parental mental health awareness month in July once we’re through International Fathers Mental Health Day in June!