In the IT industry, irrespective of whether we are working toward – as an industry or as an organisation – bringing gender parity within our ranks to reality, historically, we have a lot of blokes working with us. #Facts
And just because we’re striving for gender parity and equity, does NOT mean that we can be complacent in regard to raising awareness of, and the destigmatising of, Men’s Health for those fantastic IT men. (New superhero group? #FantasticITMen)
It’s Time to Change the Narrative
Yeah, yeah, it’s a cliche, but blokes – statistically – tend to ignore health concerns at a higher rate than women, under the age-old guise of “being tough,” or “manly.” We see it all the time playing out in professional sports, something that has had damaging – often life-threatening! – effects crossing generations.
It is finally now getting more attention in the media, and processes are being put into place to educate and inform, and bring accountability into the picture, across multiple sporting codes – and so it should. But it is not just in sport that we see this – it’s everywhere. You’ve heard and read the phrase “toxic masculinity?” This is it – in action.
You hear it in Aussie-speak:
- “Aw, harden up mate, you’ll be right.”
- “Have a cup of concrete!”
- “Turn it up, it’s not that bad!”
This dismissive and harmful attitude is, sadly, one that has been ingrained in our society… One that we want to see gone forever.
And it starts with us (Nexon), and you too. With awareness and education.
Statistically, there’s a good chance that YOU, dear reader, are a man. And if you aren’t, we can pretty much guarantee that you love and care for at least one male – be it a friend, partner, child, or other family member. Needless to say, this is a topic that concerns all of us – we need to take care of men’s health.
The Numbers – Men’s Health Facts
So let’s look at some cold, hard facts. Spoiler alert: they’re not pretty.
- Men live 4.4 years less than women
- The final 11 years of a man’s life will be in ill health
- Heart disease kills men at earlier ages
- Men have a significantly higher risk of dying from liver disease
- Men have an increased risk of dying from diabetes
- 94% of all workforce fatalities are Men.
- 80% of spinal cord injuries occur in young Men
- Alcohol kills almost SIX TIMES more Men than Women
- Men are more than two times more likely to have substance use disorders
- 1 in 8 Men will experience depression
- 1 in 5 Men will experience anxiety
- 76% of Australian suicides in 2020 were Men
- Males aged 85 and older experience the highest age-specific rate of suicide
- Men suffer from body image issues and eating disorders too – 1 in 4 individuals with an eating disorder is male, and male objectification and sexualisation in the media is no less harmful for men and boys.
- The top 3 killers of Men in Australia are heart disease, suicide, and motor vehicle accidents.
There is Hope – More Men’s Health Facts
But we can CHANGE this. Here are some numbers to give you hope, and why International Men’s Health Week and Men’s Health Month are the ideal opportunities we need to use to raise awareness and educate others about this worthy cause.
- Only 30% of a Man’s overall health is determined by genetics – 70% is controllable through lifestyle changes!
- Active men are 60% less likely to suffer from depression than those who are inactive.
- Men who sleep 7-8 hours per night have a 60% less risk of a fatal heart attack than those who sleep 5 hours or less.
- Men who climb 50 stairs or walk 5 city blocks per day may lower their risk of heart attack by 25%.
- Drink half as much = half as much risk to develop type 2 diabetes. (Drinking more than 10 drinks per week almost DOUBLES the risk.)
- Staying mentally healthy protects against heart disease
- Open dialogue is the path to a healthy human – talking helps.
- Heart health checks are FREE for men over 45
- Eating more fruit and veg reduces risks for NUMEROUS physical, mental, and emotional illnesses.
Men’s Health Week & Men’s Health Month
We’re 2/3 of the way through International Men’s Health Week 2022, and halfway through Men’s Health Month 2022. Check out the International Men’s Health Week and Men’s Health Month website – the organisation has a two-decade history going back to 2002 in Vienna, so this isn’t a flash-in-the-pan effort to grab headlines. As you can see by the numbers above, this is no laughing matter.
Here in Australia, this year’s theme is Building Healthy Environments for Men & Boys, to shine the spotlight on “creating physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy environments in the home, workplace, and in social settings.”
That second section of facts above? That’s where we start to build healthy environments for our men & boys. And to be really clear – it’s not just physical health, but mental health and emotional wellbeing too. Our communities need to be supportive and inclusive environments to facilitate this.
How We Can Learn, Help, and/or Participate
- Employers can provide anonymous assistance by giving access to an Employee Assistance Program, and by starting the conversation with organisation-wide communications to prompt thought and discussion.
- Organisations or individuals can host events to increase awareness and education about specific male health issues that your network are affected by, interested in, or that you are passionate about. Register your event here.
- Visit HealthyMale.org.au or Healthy Male’s page on MHW22 to learn more about the 5 barriers to men’s health and subscribe to their updates
- Read stories of resilience from the Southwestern Sydney Health Service project “Tackling the Challenge: Talking Men’s Health”
- Attend an existing event promoted on the Centre for Men’s Health page: Men’s Health Week | 2022 Events (westernsydney.edu.au)
- Download a mental wellness app like Headspace to start developing healthy habits for your mind.
- Implement one of Beyond Blue’s 6 little things you can do for your wellbeing every day.
And finally, share this article with your network – on social, via text, at the dinner table – start the conversation. Whether it’s with your colleagues, friends, or family, it’s a conversation that needs to be had.
And it starts with us.
Further resources and references not linked above (in no particular order):
- Canadian Men’s Health Foundation – Inspiring Men To Live Healthier (menshealthfoundation.ca)
- Deaths by suicide over time – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (aihw.gov.au)
- PukaUp | The Movement