Men’s health : time for a new approach to policy and practice?
A recent paper by Peter Baker and Tim Shand explores the health of men and boys in a global context and makes the case for national governments to implement male health policies – and acknowledge a gendered approach to health in practical work. Only Ireland, Australia, Brazil, and Iran have implemented dedicated male health policies. The paper also indicates the importance of schools-based educational programmes and workplace initiatives as a setting for practical health promotion work.
On health in the UK workplace, a new report demonstrates that low skilled male construction and building trade workers are at greatest risk of suicide, accounting for 29% (3,059 out of 10,688) of all male suicides. In terms of targeting this group of men with responses to reduce the rate of suicide, the UK does not possess initiatives such as those in Australia – Tradies Tune Up with health staff visiting building and construction sites to provide support on general and mental health concerns – or an initiative specifically targeting male suicide in the construction industry like MATES in Construction. This provides a good example of a targeted, male specific service.
The UK is poorly resourced in this regard. Other countries have led the way in recognising the need for – and implementing male health policy and programmes to address male health concerns. The provision of support for men in the UK is hotch-potch at best and whilst there are some examples of locality public health commissioners understanding the rationale for action and trying to implement work to address male health, nationally this isn’t being replicated. The Men and Boys Coalition have this month called on the Chief Medical Officer to consider a report on men’s health to act as a precursor for policy. Isn’t it about time that the Department of Health recognised the need for gendered work, considered a male health policy and implemented or supported in a UK context initiatives such as those in Australia, Ireland and elsewhere? To not do so is to continue the tragic waste of men’s lives and the impact on families, friends, loved ones and the wider community.
Peter and Tim’s article can be accessed by following this link: