Don't wait for men to engage - especially on mental health

MEN'S HEALTH MANIFESTO: Remove the barriers, reach out and make the most of it when men do engage

Remove the barriers to using health care, mental health and preventative care - especially for men of working age:

  • Sort out opening times and access so they work for full-time workers
  • Improve online access, booking and other interaction
  • Stop using drug or alcohol problems as a barrier to mental health treatment – invest in integrated care for dual diagnosis
  • Deliver on the recently announced access & waiting time standards for mental health
  • Tackle stigma and discrimination, especially in the workplace and especially for men with stigmatised problems such as mental health, eating disorders, breast cancer and sexual violation
  • Greater use of self-help groups and peer-led services.

Reach out proactively:

  • Take services to where men are: workplaces, online, pubs, sports grounds, betting shops, prisons etc.
  • Where it’s not already happening, extend occupational health to include screening and preventative health measures
  • Create a ‘Mental Health Diversion Duty’ in the criminal justice system and emergency care – intervening more effectively to reduce the number of people arrested under Section 136. Deliver national coverage by 2017
  • Increase health check outreach and uptake amongst men
  • Start bowel cancer screening earlier, especially for higher risk men, including MSM.

Make the most of it when men do engage with health services:

  • Include cancer symptom awareness, mental health, sleep apnoea and erectile dysfunction in health checks
  • Special focus on high-risk infrequent attenders
  • Co-design new services with men.

Why is this important?

Health services are still not effectively engaging with men. Especially during working age, men remain less likely to: 

  • attend a general practitioner
  • attend a NHS Health Check
  • opt for bowel cancer screening
  • visit a pharmacy
  • take a Chlamydia test
  • have a dental check-up.

Four in five suicides are male but only a minority of these men were engaged with mental health services.

67% of men are overweight or obese yet only 10-20% of those on NHS weightloss programmes are men.

Research has suggested a link between men’s lower use of primary care and their higher rate of hospital services.

71% of CVD-related deaths under 65 are amongst men14 and the NHS Health Check programme focuses on circulatory conditions, a major killer of men, yet only 35% of local authorities know how many men they reach with the
programme,15 and within those authorities only 44% of health checks are conducted amongst men.

 Men are 80% of suicides, but only 36% of IAPT referrals


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