This week is International Men's Health Week

Aims to support males to live healthier lives
  • Deborah Condon

The health of boys and men, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, is being highlighted by the Men's Health Forum in Ireland (MHFI) as part of International Men's Health Week.

The event, which runs from June 15-21, aims to support boys and men to live healthier lives and to raise awareness of preventable health problems.

Currently in Ireland, men die almost four years younger than women, and males have higher death rates in almost all of the leading causes of death and at all ages.

However, this year has been "an exceptional year", with all aspects of life in Ireland continuing to be affected by COVID-19, the MHFI noted.

It pointed out that the virus appears to be having a disproportionate impact on men. While there has been a broadly similar incidence and prevalence rate to women, men seem to develop serious illness at a faster rate, recover slower from the virus, and have a higher overall death rate.

"Coronavirus has had an impact at many levels. Individuals across Ireland are trying to re-build their physical health, emotional resilience, relationships, jobs, finances, connections and routines. There is a need to find some new form of equilibrium, at least in the short-term.

"Throughout Men's Health Week, everyone is asked to 'be part of the solution' and to do what they can, no matter how small, to help to restore some balance and stability. Rarely has this been more needed," commented MHFI director of operations, Colin Fowler.

Meanwhile, according to MHFI chairperson, Michael Lynch, the past few months have shown "the best side of males, when the vast majority have done their bit to flatten the curve".

He insisted that this contribution should be celebrated during Men's Health Week. However, he noted that men's health "is not just an issue for individual men".

"Health can be determined by other factors outside of men's personal control. Thus, there is a need for policymakers, service providers and society as a whole to recognise the role they need to play.

"In our experience, if men are offered positive choices, and given the encouragement and opportunities they need, they will succeed in living a healthier life," Mr Lynch said.

For more information on Men's Health Week and how to look after your health, see the Toolbox for Action here and the Man Manual here.


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