In light of MOvember, we invited Dr Kyle Eggleton to further discuss men's health.
In this article I want to highlight three conditions which disproportionately affect mens health. These conditions are suicide, melanoma and motor vehicle accidents. Men account for 71%, 65% and 71% respectively of all deaths arising from these conditions. Suicide alone accounts for about 360 male deaths every year. For each of these conditions there is something that we can do for our fathers, sons, brothers and friends that might save a life. These things are – be vigilant, speak up, seek help.
Be vigilant. Watch out for the man who stops talking, or is not as happy as he once was. Watch out for odd looking moles and be vigilant about putting on sun screen lotion. Watch out for fast driving!
Speak up. Ask how your loved o
ne is going. He might not say much but just knowing that you are there may allow him the opportunity to unburden himself. Speak up about that mole. Speak up about the dangerous driving and tell him that you are scared.
Seek help. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about his mental health. Ring Lifeline 0800 543 354 for support or counselling. Make an appointment for a doctor to check out that mole. Seek help from family and friends to assist you in addressing his bad driving behaviours.
There is a degree of preventability for all of these conditions. However, in order to prevent our men from harm we need to step up and take some action. Make November not a month of thinking about mens health but the start of a year of vigilance, speaking up and seeking help.
-Kyle is a Distinguished Fellow of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of General Practice at the University of Auckland.
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