Discussing men's health is important for many reasons. Men, generally speaking, are less likely to seek healthcare than women, which can lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment of potentially serious conditions.
Men's health encompasses physical, mental, and emotional aspects, all of which need to be acknowledged and addressed. Encouraging men to openly communicate their feelings without resorting to violence or suppression can contribute to healthier masculinity and better overall mental health. Discussing men's health can also encourage positive behaviour changes like regular exercise, balanced diets, and self-care practices, leading to long-term improvements in health outcomes.
Men’s Health in Alberta
Men's health awareness is a topic of significant importance, particularly in Alberta.
- In terms of suicide rates, Alberta has been reported to have the second highest rate in Canada for men. Of the estimated 4,000 suicide deaths in Canada each year, nearly 75% are men.
- Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian men. The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that in 2020, 23,300 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, representing 21% of all new cancer cases in men for that year.
- Surveys indicate that Canadian men are about three times more likely to report that they have thought about suicide compared to women. This statistic underscores the serious need for more targeted mental health resources and support for men.
While all genders have health needs, and none are more important than the other, there are some differences – and urgencies – when it comes to male healthcare.
Men face unique pressures and health needs that stem from a variety of factors including biological differences, societal norms, and cultural expectations. These pressures can lead to specific health issues, such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, testosterone deficiency syndrome, prostate and testicular cancer. Low testosterone levels, particularly in older men, are associated with depression, stress, and mood swings.
Some issues are less tangible. Economic marginality, adverse working conditions, and gendered coping responses are factors that contribute to elevated health risks in men. Work, which is often a central aspect of masculine identity, can contribute to mental health challenges when job-related pressures become overwhelming.
Substance use disorders are another area of concern for men's health. Specific treatment needs of adult men living with these disorders must be addressed through gender-specific research and best practices.
Finally, societal pressures, a lack of emotional support, and adherence to traditional gender norms can lead to mental health issues in men. Men are often reluctant to discuss their mental health and are more likely to die by suicide than women. Older men are also more likely to experience health conditions such as coronary heart disease and dementia, and suffer negative health impacts caused by a fall.
Addressing the unique pressures and health needs of men requires a comprehensive and inclusive approach that takes into account the physical, psychological, and social aspects of men's health.
Thankfully, there are organizations and foundations dedicated to doing just that.
Men’s Health Groups in Alberta
- Wellspring Men's Group. Wellspring offers an inviting and judgment-free environment where men living with cancer can share their experiences and challenges. They provide a platform for men to derive strength and comfort from shared stories and peer support. The group aims to empower its members by ensuring they feel welcomed, supported, and celebrated. Research indicates that social support significantly improves health-related outcomes, such as quality of life, anxiety, and self-efficacy, especially among individuals living with cancer.
- Canadian Centre for Men and Families: is another organization striving to address men's health issues. They offer a range of services, including therapy, legal assistance, and health and wellness programs, focusing on areas often overlooked in men's health, such as mental health, family law, fathering, tutoring, mentorship, and trauma support.
- Men's Health Foundation: works to inspire Canadian men to lead healthier lives through various initiatives, campaigns, and programs. They focus on physical activity, nutrition, mental health, and preventive health, offering tools and strategies to help men take control of their health.
- Alberta Men's Network: provides a comprehensive directory of supports and services. They connect men with resources related to mental health, addiction, homelessness, violence, and abuse, providing a much-needed lifeline for men in crisis.
- MyHealth.Alberta.ca is a government-run health information service that provides reliable and accurate health information on a wide range of topics, including men's health. They offer resources for understanding various health conditions, managing health, and promoting wellness.
Support for Transgender Males
Support for transgender males is crucial too. It not only affirms their identity but also contributes to their mental health, well-being, and overall quality of life. Transgender individuals often face societal stigma, discrimination, and misunderstanding that can lead to significant psychological distress. Therefore, providing them with the right support systems is essential.
This resource, Transgender Map, offers a comprehensive list of resources for transgender individuals in Alberta. This includes healthcare providers, support groups, legal assistance, and educational resources, all of which are crucial for supporting transgender males and helping them navigate their journey.
By offering acceptance, understanding, and resources, we can contribute to a more inclusive and supportive society.
Need Help? Reach Out
It's crucial for men to prioritize their health and well-being. The organizations listed above provide invaluable resources and support, but they can only help those who reach out. If you're a man struggling with health issues, whether physical or mental, don't hesitate to seek help. Remember, it's not just about adding years to your life but adding life to your years.
This Movember feature is brought to you by Great West Media Content Studio and in part by the Sponsors on this page. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.