Here's How You Can Help Men Open Up About Their Health

Almost one quarter (23%) of men don’t seek medical advice about their health. It's time that changed.
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You probably have a man in your life who won’t, no matter the problem, go to the doctor.

In fact, a lot of the time you won’t even know he’s dealing with anything because he doesn’t talk about his feelings.

According to research by myGP, a staggering one in four men refuse to get medical help for health issues due to embarrassment.

This has a serious knock-on effect, as stats show that one in five men die before the age of 65.

Suffering in silence can prove deadly

According to the Samaritans, in 2021, the male suicide rate was 17.6 per 100,000 compared to the female suicide rate of 4.7 per 100,000.

Dr Natasha Bijlani, a consultant psychiatrist at Priory Hospital Roehampton, suggests men have trouble opening up about their mental health due to societal pressures.

“Traditionally, men have been less likely to seek support for mental health issues. This is probably for a number of reasons including stigma and the traditional ‘strong male’ stereotype still prevalent in our society – the idea that expressing emotion is a sign of weakness,” she explains.

As well as suicide, prostate cancer is another major health issue affecting men that can be considered too intimate to talk about for some.

Dr Prantik Das, clinical oncologist at GenesisCare, says: “Health issues can be taboo, especially with men, as our ‘Break the Silence’ research shows.

“This Father’s Day, we want dads to take the time to have a conversation with their sons about any risks of cancer – particularly those that may be hereditary.

“By fostering open dialogue, encouraging early detection, and highlighting the available innovative treatment options, we hope to improve outcomes and help more men live healthy, fulfilling lives.”

Here are some ways to open the conversation around health with the men in your life

  • Start with empathy. Approach the conversation with genuine care and understanding, emphasising that you want to support their overall wellbeing.
  • Choose the right moment. Find a comfortable and relaxed setting where you can both talk openly without distractions.
  • Connect the family dots. Foster open dialogue about family cancers, especially as prostate cancer affects more than 52,000 men each year, and around 5-9% are related to inherited factors.
  • Use relatable examples. Share stories or examples from individuals who have overcome health challenges to talk about how they can conduct their own well-man check-ups and where to start, to emphasise the importance of early detection and prevention.