A major strength of the voluntary sector is engaging with ‘seldom heard’ and ‘hard to reach’ groups. In the area of health, men fit in this category and the Men's Health Forum has produced a toolkit to help.
Why does the voluntary sector have such an important role to play in improving men’s health?
The voluntary sector has much to offer in helping to improve men’s health. Voluntary and community organisations come into contact with a range of men, often outside of traditional health settings. These circumstances offer lots of opportunities to raise awareness of health issues in settings that are familiar and comfortable to men. They also present a chance to signpost men to appropriate sources of health advice and information.
Why is improving men’s health important to the voluntary sector?
42% of men currently die prematurely (before the age of 75). Helping to improve men’s health allows men to be more healthy active citizens, who can play a meaningful role in their communities for longer.
Government health policy now places significant importance on reducing health inequalities, and the NHS Commissioning Board has a statutory duty to address health inequalities. The NHS Outcomes Framework and the Public Health Outcomes Framework both place an emphasis on reducing health inequalities and preventing premature death.
These policies are likely to have a consequent impact on the outcomes that Local Authority and NHS commissioners require voluntary sector organisations to meet. Working to improve men’s health offers an excellent opportunity to reduce inequalities, given that men (especially those from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds) experience health inequalities and premature death at a disproportionately high level.
This guide was produced as part of the Men's Health Forum's work as a strategic partner of the Department of Health.