It's Time to Raise Awareness of Men's (and Boys') Health

Employee Benefits

It's Time to Raise Awareness of Men's (and Boys') Health

June is Men’s Health Month, a national observance intended to raise awareness about health care for men and focus on encouraging boys, men and their families to practice and implement healthy living decisions. Good health for men includes exercising and eating healthy, getting routine screenings for diseases prevalent in males―high blood pressure, diabetes, prostate and colon cancer―and managing mental health issues such as depression and substance use.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1, men go two years longer without seeing a physician or other health care professional compared to women. They also tend to exhibit a fear of a diagnosis, which can lead men to denial. Further, racial and social determinants of health factors play a significant role in men’s health. For example, compared to their white counterparts, African Americans and Hispanics are generally at higher risk for heart disease, stroke and cancer, as well as substance use and suicide.2

This month, men are encouraged to think about their health and well-being. Consider sharing the following recommendations with your employees to help them prepare to talk with their health care provider.

Learn Your Family Health History

  • Know what ailments run in your family, such as certain cancers or diabetes, which could put you at risk for certain diseases.
  • If you have any risk factors or prior personal history, consider changing your lifestyle to improve your health.

Make a List of Questions and Concerns

  • When speaking with a clinician, we often forget some of our concerning issues. Craft a list of questions before your appointment, such as the frequency your doctor recommends for colon or prostate screenings.

Be Open and Honest With Your Doctor

  • Small details can have a significant impact. For instance, advise your clinician if you see blood in your stool or urine. Mention if you have frequent headaches, as this might be an indication of high blood pressure.
  • Do not shy away from information you think is less important – as these details may make a big difference in your care.

Do Not Be Reluctant to Talk About Mental and Sexual Health

  • Mental and sexual health are areas that men are often hesitant to address with their providers. Having the courage to speak up about these sensitive subjects may improve your quality of life.
  • If you find that you are drinking more than usual or having thoughts of harming yourself, your doctor will appreciate these conversations and welcome the chance to help you improve your health.

Take Action Today

  • Schedule your annual preventive exam.
  • Review your lab results and other values with your doctor if you have had a recent medical exam.
  • Continue to follow recommended treatments and medications.

Wear Blue Day is an opportunity during Men’s Health Month to raise awareness for Men’s and Boys’ Health Issues. Wear Blue to work on Friday, June 17th (the Friday before Fathers’ Day) to help raise awareness.

Joel Axler, MD

National Behavioral Health Leader