Top 10 Resources to Advance Men's Health
This June, the United States celebrates Men’s Health Month to raise awareness of the need for men to receive regular medical checkups and preventive care.
“Our fathers, partners, brothers and friends are facing a health crisis, yet it’s rarely talked about,” said Devin Hollis, with Movember, a charity dedicated to improving men's health globally. “Men are dying too young. We can’t afford to stay silent.”
Men need to prioritize both their physical and mental health, said Mike Leventhal, with the Men’s Health Network.
Understanding Men's Health
The National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that on average, the life expectancy for men is 5.8 years less than for women.
Although sexual health often will prompt a man to seek medical care, improving the health of men requires focusing on an array of health concerns, including cardiovascular health, the leading cause of death for men; diabetes; mental health and suicide; infectious diseases; cancer screening and prevention; and prostate health.
More men than women die of diabetes, according to CDC data reported by KFF. Additionally, more men die from cancer than women, 190 per 100,000 men compared to 136 per 100,000 women, according to the National Cancer Institute. And the American Cancer Society reported in 2023 that about 288,300 men will learn they have prostate cancer this year and 34,700 men will die from the disease.
Men die of drug overdoses at more than twice the rate of women, according to a new study in Neuropsychopharmacology. And men die by suicide at nearly 4 times the rate of women, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“Men’s mental health is a real crisis,” said Leventhal, explaining that men often bottle up their emotions and do not talk about them.
“Dealing with health and emotions can be challenging for some men, and society’s expectations of what it is to be a man doesn’t make it any easier,” Hollis added. “They struggle in silence or seek help too late. Talking about the tough stuff isn’t easy for anyone, but traditional ideas that men should be strong and self-reliant put an extra burden on men.”
Why the disparities in men’s health vs. women’s?
Men experience more accidental deaths, may be involved in crimes, and often work in more dangerous jobs than women, Leventhal said. Men also make fewer physician visits, 224 visits per 100 men vs. 308 visits per 100 women according to the CDC.
“Men learn early that it’s not important to go to the doctor,” Leventhal said. “It’s a serious problem. And our mission is to teach men and women to go to the doctor for annual health checks.”
Regular care can make a huge difference for men. But men who feel ill still try to avoid the doctor.
“Research has shown that if men feel sick, they tend to feel less masculine and don’t access health care,” said Jason Mott, PhD, RN, associate professor in the pre-licensure program, director and assistant dean in the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, College of Nursing and president of the American Association for Men in Nursing.
Once in the door, whether for an injury or sexual health issue, the physician or other provider can take it from there, complete a physical, order blood work and recommend screenings, Mott said.
However, men often do not want to know if they have cancer or another disease, thinking if they do not know, it’s not a problem, Leventhal explained. “Prevention is not something men want to invest in,” he explained. He also indicated that hospitals, health systems and physician offices often do not make men feel welcome or market to them.
“Men want to be catered to,” Leventhal said. “They do not feel like they are heard when it comes to their health, or they are embarrassed. It’s not macho to talk about it.”
10 Top Men's Health Websites and Organizations
Many online resources exist to promote and optimize men’s health.
- Men’s Health Network. The content from this nonprofit organization includes health information targeted to men, plus ways to reach men and boys and talk with them about their health care.
- Men’s Health Month. This site explains about the awareness month and offers tools to enlighten others.
- Men’s Health Resource Center. This resource page offers general information about the various health conditions men can experience.
- Movember. Focused on creating a future where men live healthier and longer lives, this site offers information about different mental and physical conditions affecting men, stories and reports. The organization has funded more than 1,250 innovative men’s health projects related to prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.
- Center for Men’s Health Equity. This Georgetown University endeavor explains programs and research projects for men.
- International Society of Men's Health. This website takes a global approach to men’s health, including the Men’s Health World Congress and offers a series of resources.
- A Call to Men. This organization focuses on promoting healthy and respectful manhood and offers educational resources.
- American Society for Men’s Health. This advocacy organization promotes education, research and teaching about men’s health.
- Men’s Health. This popular magazine and website are dedicated to educating about men’s health issues.
- Urology Care Foundation. This site emphasizes the importance of raising awareness during Men’s Health Month and throughout the year. Includes resources on a variety of men’s health conditions, including prostate and testicular cancer.
How Nurses Can Make a Difference in Men’s Health
“Nurses can help the men’s health movement by listening to guys,” Leventhal said.
Nurses should demonstrate empathy and understand the struggles that may have taken place to get the man in the door. The American Association for Men in Nursing website can also provide helpful information and data about its mission to bring more men into the profession.
“Men often relate better to male nurses, and they want providers who look like them,” said Mott, who urged nurses to try and understand where their male patients are coming from. He also encourages organizations to work to create new hours of access to help male patients receive the care they need.
“Nurses can spot the signs of depression, encourage men to talk about their health and direct them to movember.com for essential information and resources related to men’s health,” Hollis added.
Nurses can play a major role in prevention and early detection of men’s health concerns. Early intervention can lead to better outcomes. Now is the time to seek care or urge a man you care about to receive health services.
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