Recently we celebrated R U OK day, a day dedicated to asking about mental health.
While it is incredible to have a day focused on asking those around us ‘are you okay?’, we should be having conversations about mental, and general health, every day of the year.
I find the key group that really struggles with admitting they’re not okay are males.
When I open my doors each day the majority of people that walk through them are women. Women see their mental and physical health as a priority and are willing to invest time, effort and money into it.
Victorian Government research shows that men, on the other hand, visit their health practitioner less frequently, have shorter visits and only attend when their illness is well progressed. It appears that they show a much lower awareness and interest in their health than women. There could be many reasons for this. Maybe men feel pressure to just ‘get over it’; maybe men don’t feel comfortable asking for help.
This lack of connection means that their warning signs can be easily overlooked and the opportunity for them to take action is often perilously delayed.
National statistics, back up my observations. Australian men are more likely than Australian women to develop serious health problems. In fact, they are also more likely to die from almost every non-sex-specific health problem. The current mortality ratio sees 3 men die to every 2 women before the age of 65.
With all of this in mind, I encourage all men to ask for help when it comes to their health. Committing to regular check-ups, paying attention to signs and symptoms and becoming more educated about health could be the first steps in reconnecting to their health and, more importantly, to changing their current health trajectory.
Because everyone deserves to feel okay every day.