Article supplied by the Hunter New England Local Health District.
‘‘SHE’LL be right, mate’’ is a troubling expression for men’s health campaigners, because too many Australian men take this easygoing view of their own care and well-being.
The ‘‘no worries’’ approach is under challenge in the Hunter during Men’s Health Week (June 11 to 17) because for many Australian men, the situation may not be quite as right as they hope.
‘‘Every hour more than five men die prematurely in Australia from potentially preventable illnesses,’’ men’s health co-ordinator, Hunter New England local health district, Ken McKenzie said.
‘‘We need to connect with blokes, to let them know there are ways to make things better.
‘‘All the usual things apply – healthy diets, exercise, learning how to deal with stress – but this week, any week for that matter, we want more men to visit the doctor for a checkup.
‘‘And if they won’t look after themselves, we need the wives, the partners, the families and friends, even the children, to encourage men to give themselves a bit of care and attention.’’
One third of men have not seen a doctor in the past year and 10per cent have not seen one for five years.
Recent studies show that many men don’t have regular health checks because they either fear it will lead to a hospital visit, are embarrassed to talk about their health issues, find it too hard to fit a doctor’s visit into their schedule or simply can’t be bothered to make an appointment.
‘‘And there’s so much more that men can do to help themselves, to head off troubles down the track.’’
‘‘Mateship’’ has also been enlisted in the Men’s Health Campaign.
‘‘As well as diet and exercise, men need to find a mate or a professional they can trust to reach out to when they are feeling stressed or down,’’ Mr McKenzie said. ‘‘Depression is a very common disease and there are many free services such as Beyond Blue and Lifeline. You don’t have to suffer alone.
‘‘Men are encouraged to recognise and reach out if they notice signs and symptoms in their friends.
‘‘That’s when they need to start a conversation with their mate.’’
There are seven key messages for Men’s Health Week, 2012:
*Get physically active, eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight.
*Learn to manage stress and depression.
*Get screened for sexual health.
*If you smoke, begin the journey to quit.
*If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation.
*Learn about cancer checks.
* If a father, actively engage with children.
‘‘Simple health prevention steps include checking for signs of skin cancer, keeping tabs on blood pressure, blood sugars and cholesterol. All of these things, could help improve the lives of Australian men,’’ Mr McKenzie said.
‘‘When it comes to health checks, ‘she’ll be right’ is a dangerous part of our culture. The only way for men to know if ‘she’ll be right’ is for them to see a doctor about what checks need to be done.’’