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Men’s Health Week – Know the Facts

10th June 2024

Male delivering a seminar to a group of employees

Every year, the week running up to Father’s Day is Men’s Health Week – this year being held on 10-16 June.  

Men’s Health Week was first established in the United States in 1994. An annual event launched to address the disparities in men’s health by raising awareness and advocating for improved wellbeing, this important date has now spread globally, and is organised in the UK by the Men’s Health Forum. The Men’s Health Forum charity, alongside many others, aim to emphasise the significance of men’s wellbeing and engage fathers, brothers, sons, and male friends to ‘get talking’ about their health.  

Following King Charles’ diagnosis, this year’s Men’s Health Week theme is ‘Let’s talk prostates’. Approximately 52,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK and it will affect 1 in 8 men over the course of their lifetime – with statistics even higher in men of black ethnicity, shooting up to 1 in 6.  

Understanding Men’s Health -what’s the current picture? 

There are a vast number of health issues that impact men and those assigned male at birth in addition to the more commonly known prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. These lesser-known health conditions, and how they disproportionately impact men, may contribute to the disparity between men and women’s health. According to the Office of National Statistics, during 2020/22 the average life expectancy for males was 78.6 years, compared to 82.6 years for females, while the Men’s Health Forum reports that in 2020, 1 in 5 male deaths were before the age of 65. They also report that men: 

  • Make up 76% of premature deaths from heart disease 
  • Are 43% more likely to die from cancer than women 
  • Represented 63% of premature deaths from COVID-19 
  • Are 26% more likely to have type 2 diabetes than women, and make up 68.5% of diabetic amputations 
  • Represent 66% of alcohol-related deaths 

The Men’s Health Forum also found that a lack of awareness of preventable health problems among men could be a cause for concern, with men of a working age being on average 32% less likely to visit the doctor than their peers. 76% of premature deaths from heart disease are men, as are the majority of premature deaths from Type 2 diabetes.  

The European Institute for Gender Equality reports that there is a link between health behaviours and health status. Health behaviours, such as diet and physical activity, and health risks, such as smoking and alcohol intake, influence our overall health status. It’s been suggested that both societal norms and gender attitudes can influence male health behaviour and health risks specifically in a number of ways, such as how male participation in risky behaviours is often seen as more socially acceptable. Unfortunately, attitudes still often remain that health-seeking behaviour is ‘feminine’, leaving many men less likely to seek healthcare or with harmful perceptions of masculinity limiting self-care. These social concerns have all been suggested as contributing to the ongoing gender disparity in leading a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing.  

Furthermore, some studies have reported that men have less knowledge of their overall health than women, and that women are more likely to attend outpatient appointments in comparison to men. In fact, research has found that women are more likely to attend NHS health screenings than men, risking a lack of engagement in healthcare which can result in undetected health risks such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and poor blood glucose regulation, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.  

It’s even been suggested that this may be due to harmful perceptions of masculinity, creating feelings of embarrassment and stigma when accessing healthcare. This leads, ultimately, to lower levels of health literacy among men, including poorer symptom recognition, and a misunderstanding of both health risks and screening options.  

Men’s mental health 

The overall picture of men’s health is even more concerning when it comes to mental health, with research by the Samaritans showing that 75% of all suicides are men, with suicide being the biggest cause of death in men under 50 – however, of all those who are referred to the mental health service IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies), only 34% are male. 

Due to many years of campaigning and awareness-building, today the negative perceptions associated with mental ill-health are slowly improving. However, there is still much more work to be done to eliminate stigma, encourage men to speak up, and normalise conversations around mental health and wellbeing. 

Read more about mental health with our series of mental health and wellbeing blogs. 

What can I do as an employer to support male employees? 

Men’s Health week is a timely opportunity to raise greater awareness of men’s health and is an important reminder of the importance of prioritising wellbeing. Arming men with facts, guidance, and information will support them to make informed decisions and will help give them the courage to take control of their lifestyle, for improved future health. 

  1. Raise awareness – The goal is prevention. Encourage the men in your life and workforce to proactively take charge of their health and wellbeing to help them identify risks to prevent the development of disease. This can break down barriers and empower men to prioritise their health and make positive lifestyle choices for a healthier and happier life.  
  2. Encourage engagement:  Encourage your male workforce to actively engage in their health and wellbeing by inviting them to have open conversations about health-related topics and investigate the types of support they would like to see. Establish men’s support groups or networks which can provide valuable platforms for peer support.  
  3. Provide education: Raise awareness of men’s specific health issues for example, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, testicular and prostate cancer, and mental health. Host events and workshops during public health campaigns such as Movember and cancer awareness weeks. Encourage men to access health screening and provide information and resources to empower men to make informed decisions, and remember to share information via intranet, emails, newsletters, socials, and displaying posters to ensure information is cascaded across the whole organisation.  
  4. Provide health and wellbeing awareness training: Physical and mental health awareness training can help raise awareness of health risks and behaviours, highlight screening opportunities, provide strategies for improved mental health, enhanced workplace relationships and promote a more positive work environment. Find out about the Men’s Health Awareness training course we offer here.   
  5. Provide support: Make available and promote resources to support any male colleagues who may be facing any health problems or challenges. This includes promoting access to healthcare and support services and mental health support. Connecting men with these services helps to raise awareness and promote early intervention for enhanced wellbeing.  

   Men’s Health Week aims to raise awareness of the physical and mental health issues that affect men of all ages, encourage participation in health screening for early detection and treatment, and raise awareness of support. This week also aims to encourage sharing stories to get men talking. It is important to promote men’s health, not only during this particular campaign but to keep the conversation going beyond awareness days, weeks and months – facilitating a shift towards normalising these conversations and cultivating a cultural change.  

If you would like further information regarding our Workplace Wellbeing Charter, Employee Assistance Programme or our training packages which include: 

 Please call Health@Work on 0151 236 6608 or email 

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