June marks Men’s Health Month. To acknowledge the occasion, we asked some of our male senior leaders their view on male health (mental and physical) and how we can encourage a conversation around related topics.
As COVID-19 cases surpass 10 million globally, it’s clear that a conversation around health, healthcare and education in this space simply cannot wait.
The purpose of the Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.
We interviewed our colleagues and they said:
NIGEL HUGHES, MANAGING DIRECTOR MANCHESTER
Did you know women outlive men by 5 years? 1 in 2 men get cancer in their lifetime, while it’s 1 in 3 for women. Why? Well we know women are more likely than men to visit a doctor regularly. What more can be done to help bridge this gap?
I’d like to see more health screening and consultations away from GP surgeries. Men visit their GP less often than women for many reasons, but one is that you only see the doctor if there is ‘something wrong’. My experience is that many men don’t see health education as a day-to-day lifestyle issue that should be on their ‘to do’ list, presuming instead that if something goes wrong, then somebody will sort it out when things get serious.
Almost 20% of men die before the age of 65. How can we educate more men about their health?
If men’s health advice was more visible and approachable, a wider interest and education would follow. So long as we need to make an appointment to sit in a cold waiting room before a five minute consultation with a doctor, when deep down we think we are wasting their time, we’ll just carry on googling obscure symptoms and scaring ourselves silly, before forgetting about it again the next day.
RICHARD CLARKE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR LONDON
30% of men experience depression, yet only 1 in 4 actually talk about it. How can we elevate the discussion around male mental health?
First of all I think it is important to recognise that there is still a lot of stigma attached to depression irrespective of gender. Also, men and women talk differently about depression so when it comes to getting more men talking about whether they’re okay or not, using the right language is critical. We need to find ways to continue to normalise the issue with the right role models and platforms. Take comedy as an example. Male stand-ups like John Robins use comedic writing to try and make sense of their lives and how they’re feeling and they talk about it in their performances on stage, whether that’s an unobtrusive tale or a laid bare story – it doesn’t matter. The key thing is that you have one man talking openly about a difficult time in his life and another man listening to him talking about it. We need more and more, and more, of this.
Can you name your favourite or most impactful comms/advertising campaign that spotlights health? Why this one?
There is one campaign that has really stuck in my mind – a campaign called ‘Project 84’ by CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably). CALM is a charity that works to prevent male suicide, which is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45. They commissioned a sculptor to create 84 harrowing statues of men with a hood pulled over their faces and unveiled them on top of ITV broadcasting towers in London. At the time I was working around the corner from ITV and the statues stopped me in my tracks one early morning on my way into the office. It was a powerfully simple execution that sparked a mainstream conversation, and most importantly, it delivered tangible behaviour change. Bravo CALM!
MARK CAMPBELL, GLOBAL HEAD OF CONTENT
How can communicators and those in the PR industry make an impact?
Today, particularly with COVID-19 still impacting many countries around the world, it’s important that we in the communications industry lend a voice and spotlight the campaigns that matter most to us. Raising awareness of, for example, emerging diseases, access to healthcare and the need for greater support of healthcare workers are just some concerns that rightfully demand our attention right now.
The extent of innovation in the healthcare, beauty and wellness space has grown at a rapid rate over the last few years, predominantly driven by technology and big data. This is great to see. During this global pandemic we’ve seen Formula 1 giants trade their cars for breathing devices, clothing brands creating face masks, skincare companies developing hand sanitiser and start-ups showing innovation to help curb the increase in cases.
It’s a time for all industries to step up and make a difference, in whatever way they can. This includes partnering with organizations that are making an impactful difference in the world – leaders like UNICEF and the Red Cross – and actively looking to build relationships and/or offer services to organizations in this space. Not just for now, or tomorrow, but for the long term.