June is a busy month. You have graduations, the onset of summer, Father’s day, and — not coincidentally — National Men’s Health Month.
June is Men’s Health Month
This month in observation of men’s health concerns is an extension of what began in 1994 as National Men’s Health Week, June 13-20. You’re already thinking about the important men in your life in the days leading up to Father’s Day (the third Sunday in June). Why not consider their health while you’re at it?
Why do we have Men’s Health Month?
A quick trip to menshealthmonth.org reveals the importance of awareness around men’s health. The 1994 bill signed into effect designating Men’s Health Month as a national holiday cites several grim reasons why more attention should be paid to men’s health.
Here are just a few of them, summarized for brevity:
- On average, men’s lifespans are shorter than women’s
- Incidents of prostate cancer are on the rise
- Black men in the United States face the highest incidence of prostate cancer
- Rates of colorectal cancer are also rising, with a much higher incidence rate in men
- Men are more likely to be arrested for drunk driving and display higher prevalence for alcoholism
- Men are less likely to visit a doctor than women
It’s astonishing, but perhaps more astonishing is the fact these are still true nearly 20 years later. We won’t dig into the whys behind these statistics here, but, if you’re curious, “Mars vs. Venus: The gender gap in health” is a fascinating Harvard Health article about the potential factors driving numbers like these.
The goal of Men’s Health Month
The goal of establishing Men’s Health Month was to educate the public and health care providers about the importance of preventive care and early detection for men’s health issues. Especially when it comes to cancers affecting male populations. The desired outcomes?
- Increased health screenings for men
- Increased likelihood for men to engage in preventive healthcare
- Improved early detection and treatment
- Improved health for men
- Saved healthcare dollars
Men’s Health Month is about more than prostate cancer
While the numbers behind prostate cancer rates and the need for early intervention are undeniably a large reason we have Men’s Health Month to begin with, it’s important to realize that there are actually many health conditions that impact men more than women. These include kidney cancer, gout, heart attacks, skin cancer, HIV, and more.
What to do for Men’s Health Month
Wear blue on Friday, June 17th
On the Friday of Men’s Health Week, Men’s Health Network calls those who care about men’s health to wear blue to raise awareness. Wear Blue is also a fundraising campaign. If you have interest in hosting a Wear Blue event to raise awareness for healthy men’s lifestyle choices and funds for the Men’s Health Network, you can find resources online here.
Talk to the men (and boys) in your life
The men in your life that mean a lot to you are worth having hard conversations with! It can be difficult to bring up sensitive topics like diseases, lifestyle choices, and healthcare, but if you’re concerned for a friend, a father, a brother: say something. Of course, every person is responsible for their own decisions, but by showing you care, you have the potential to make a difference.
And, remember, habits are formed early in life. If you have the privilege of helping bring up boys, start teaching them how to take care of themselves well from a young age. From toddlerhood to teenage years, make preventive doctor’s visits a priority. Emphasize physical and mental awareness. Stress the value of a life lived well, and show them you care.
Take action now to prevent and treat common men’s health concerns
Personal responsibility is the greatest power of all. Taking control of your own health — man or woman, young or old — is not just the best way to protect your own quality of life. It’s also the best way to encourage others to do the same. Be a leader in your family and your community when it comes to physical and mental health.
For men who need support: 6 men’s health resources
Ready to take control of your health but not sure where to start? We’ve put together a shortlist of helpful resources from around the internet to help you take your next step.
If you know you need to change how you eat, this is a good guideline.
Whether you or someone you know has prostate cancer, or if it runs in your family, this information from Cancer.org will help you be more prepared.
- From hormone balance to heart health, find the supplements you need for your health goals at Sona. These include:
- Multivitamins for men’s health
- Herbal supplements for libido
- Pregnenolone for hormone support
- Zinc for immune health and more
This article covers everything you need to know about how to get started and how to make new habits stick.
For a better headspace, start here — a (surprisingly humorous) resource-rich website exclusively for men, developed in collaboration by the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention, Cactus Inc. marketing agency in Denver, and Grit Digital Health.
For information on more specific health conditions common to men, search the directory here.
- Here’s to health this June, and every day this year. Take care of yourself, take care of the men in your life, and let’s make healthy living a community effort in the spirit of the first Men’s Health Week.
“Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.” — Congressman Bill Richardson, 1994