Men’s Health Week – trust your instincts!

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is highlighting Men’s Health Week 2012 (11 – 17 June) as an ideal time for men to focus on their own health and wellbeing, getting themselves checked out or looking for help and support, if necessary.

The theme for the all-island Men’s Health Week is ‘First Instinct’, encouraging men and boys to seek help and support in times of difficulty or trouble. According to the Men’s Health Forum in Ireland, men (north and south) experience a disproportionate burden of ill-health and die too young:

·Local men die, on average, almost five years younger than women

· Males have higher death rates than women for all of the leading causes of death

· Unhealthy lifestyles contribute to the high level of chronic diseases

· Late presentation to health services can lead to a number of problems becoming untreatable

Mary Black, Assistant Director of Public Health, Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement, PHA said: “The Public Health Agency was set up to promote and enhance the factors that influence good health and wellbeing and to reduce the avoidable and unjust differences in health experienced between the best and the worst-off in our society. We know that some men can be reluctant when it comes to their own health, so I would strongly encourage men and boys, and the women in their lives, to use Men’s Health Week as an opportunity to focus on improving their wellbeing.

“We can all support each other in seeking help, including for emotional difficulties. Talking to a friend, family member or someone you trust can be an important step and may also help you access the right services at the right time. There are also a number of practical steps that you can take to improve your own health and wellbeing, such as following a healthy, active lifestyle, stopping smoking, staying within safe alcohol limits, enjoying regular exercise, eating healthy wholesome food and going along to your GP if you are concerned, will all improve health and wellbeing and ultimately quality of life.”

For help and support on:

Looking after your mental health, go to: www.mindingyourhead.info

Quitting smoking, go to: www.want2stop.info; smokers helpline: 0808 812 8008

Sensible drinking, go to: www.knowyourlimits.info

Bowel screening, go to: www.publichealthagency.org and click the Bowel Screening link

Healthy eating, go to: www.enjoyhealthyeating.info

Physical activity, go to: www.getalifegetactive.com

Help yourself and help others. If you, or someone you know, is in distress or despair, call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. This is a confidential service, where trained counsellors will listen and help immediately on the phone and follow-up with other support if necessary. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also access the Lifeline website at www.lifelinehelpline.info