Men’s Health Week: 14 – 20 June 2021

To mark Men's Health Week (MHW), the PDA is raising awareness of preventable health problems for males of all ages. The week is internationally recognised and encourages men and boys to engage in healthier lifestyle choices, and urges them to seek professional advice early for health difficulties.

Mon 14th June 2021 The PDA

In the UK, Men’s Health Week is led by the Men’s Health Forum, and this year, the week provides a spotlight on men’s mental health against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Mental Health Foundation reports that around one in eight men in England have a common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

The foundation has highlighted some statistics which provide a wider picture of the state of men’s mental health:

  • Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 50 in the UK
  • Only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men, showing that they are less likely to access psychological therapies than women
  • Men are nearly three times as likely as women to become dependent on alcohol, and three times as likely to report frequent drug use
  • Men are more likely to be compulsorily detained (or ‘sectioned’) for treatment than women
  • Men are more likely to be victims of violent crime than women.

Jayesh Ladva, PDA Disabled Pharmacists’ (Ability) Network “Ally” member and PDA Rep in Boots, said “For anyone living with mental health problems, talking about it with anyone may seem really scary and difficult. For men in particular, who have been told all their lives to “man up” and “be strong,” accessing mental health support can seem to go against cultural expectations.

Men are less likely to discuss or seek help for their health problems, especially when it comes to their mental health, due to traditional societal expectations and stereotypes around gender roles.  We tend to hear about gender stereotypes affecting women and how damaging they can be, but it is important to recognise that men can be harmed by gender stereotypes and expectations too. For example, men are often expected to be the breadwinners – to be strong, dominant and in control.  These expectations can make it harder for men to open up and to access help.  

Over the last few years, there has been greater awareness and interest around the subject of male mental health, partly thanks to those in the media spotlight who’ve been vocal about their own experiences like Tyson Fury, the boxing world heavyweight champion, and Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff, the English television and radio presenter and former international cricketer, but we still have a long way to go.

It’s so important to speak up and fight the stigma. It’s okay not to be okay, so let’s start the conversation. Remember to ask twice – sometimes men say they are fine when they are not.” 

The Men’s Health Forum is encouraging participation in The CAN DO Challenge, calling for people to sign their petition for a men’s health strategy, and asking for supporters to share materials on social media around the Let’s All Talk campaign in order to encourage men to open up as society opens up.

Richard Hutton, Ability Network Coordinator, PDA Union Regional Official for the North and Locum/Consultant Pharmacist, said, “It is vitally important that men seek help early for their health problems, and especially mental health difficulties. Pharmacists can join the Ability Network for support and can also contact the PDA’s charity partner, Pharmacist Support, for help.”

Pharmacist Support gives pharmacists access to services including:

  • The Wardley Welbeing Service with resources to help with managing wellbeing
  • Counselling and peer support
  • Financial assistance
  • Specialist advice on debts and benefits
  • Addiction support.

To access these services, please visit the Pharmacist Support website or call them on 0808 1682233.

The PDA collaborated with Pharmacist Support to produce a two-page factsheet that contains seven tips to managing wellbeing in the workplace. Download the free guide here.

Learn more

Get involved

Join the PDA Ability Network

The Ability Network provides a structure through which members can work together to proactively address and campaign around disability discrimination and its causes and consequences. Membership is open to pharmacists with disabilities and those pharmacists who are allies and want to support the network.

Contact the Ability network: ability@the-pda.org

All contact with the network will be treated in confidence and with sensitivity.

JOIN THE ABILITY NETWORK TODAY

 

 

 

 

 

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