Men’s Health Week 2024: men urged to share health stories

This week (10th-16th June) is Men’s Health Week 2024, and this year men are being encouraged to share their health stories.

It's Men's Health Week 2024 in the UKObserved annually in the lead up to Father’s Day, Men’s Health Week is organised in the UK by the Men’s Health Forum and celebrated in many European countries as well as the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other places across the globe. The aim is to raise awareness of men’s physical and mental health issues and enable men to live healthier, happier and longer lives.

Now in its 30th year, the annual awareness campaign provides boys and men with access to the information, services and treatment they need to maintain good health.

Men’s Health Week encourages men to open up

The Men’s Health Forum says that men often do not talk openly about their health concerns but that, when they do, it can make a real difference. That’s why they’re encouraging men and boys to share their health stories this year.

Men's Health Week encourages men to share their health storiesThey cite the example of none other than King Charles III, who shared earlier this year that he had a problem with an enlarged prostate. This honest announcement sparked a huge spike in visits to the relevant NHS webpages, while national charity Prostate Cancer UK also experienced double the amount of users accessing its online risk checker.

As part of Men’s Health Week 2024, Men’s Health Forum have therefore published a new manual, P For Prostate, which provides information about all aspects of the prostate and they have also provided a free live broadcast on the subject.

But their message is not limited to problems with your prostate. On their website, the Men’s Health Forum states:

“Whatever’s going on with your health, sharing it may well help you and, by putting a difficult topic on the agenda, it will certainly help others.”

Calls for a gender-informed approach to healthcare

They are currently campaigning for policy-makers to introduce a Men’s Health Strategy to address the fact that too many men are still dying young. They highlight statistics which show that:

  • 1 in 5 men dies before the age of 65 in the UK
  • 40% of men die before the age of 75
  • Just over ¾ of premature deaths from heart disease are male (76%)
  • 75% of suicides are male, and suicide is the biggest cause of death among males under the age of 50
  • Two-thirds of alcohol-related deaths are male
  • Men are 43% more likely to die from cancer
  • Men are 26% more likely to have Type 2 Diabetes, and account for 68.5% of diabetic amputations
  • Men living in the most deprived areas of the UK have a life expectancy of up to 22 years less than men living in the least deprived areas

Men are much less likely to visit their doctor and engage with healthcare services

Men’s health issues and premature mortality rates have a huge financial impact on society, with 676,000 years of life lost every year within the working age male population in England and Wales. This, in turn, leads to huge costs for healthcare, sick pay and welfare benefits as well as economic and tax losses.

Currently, healthcare services are less effective at engaging men, particularly working age men. Additional statistics show:

  • Men are 32% less likely to visit their doctor
  • Men only make up a third of patient referrals to NHS talking therapies (34%), despite accounting for 75% of suicides
  • Only a minority of men undergo NHS Health Checks, which are effective at detecting heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes

The Men’s Health Forum explains:

“This lack of engagement not only means that men’s all-round wellbeing is under-supported by regular health check-ups, it can result in much more serious issues going untreated for longer, sometimes until it is too late.”

They argue that this data underlines the need for a “gender-informed approach to health care,” something which they say the government has already acknowledged. They welcome the move to develop a Women’s Health Strategy for England, but now they also want to see a similar strategy developed for men’s health.

Men's Health Week coincides with a campaign for a Men's Health Strategy to help level up men's health and mortalityThey say that such a strategy would help to “level up” men’s health and “enable the many inequalities around prevention, care and outcomes in both the physical and mental health of men and boys to be addressed in a comprehensive and systematic way.”

This has been evidenced elsewhere, with the Men’s Health Forum pointing out that similar policies and strategies have been effectively introduced in countries such as Ireland and Australia, while on a local level in the UK, cities such as Leeds have also implemented a gender-informed approach to health.

The campaign is supported by a coalition of men’s health practitioners, academics and charities, while the All-Party Group on Men and Boys has also backed the call.

Men’s Health Forum CEO Martin Tod welcomed their recommendation, explaining:

“We’ve been working to get a National Men’s Health Policy and this is a big step forward. It’s also great to see the calls for more research and targeted male-friendly services. Whoever wins the current election needs to take this challenge seriously and get behind this policy.”

This Men’s Health Week, you can support the campaign for a men’s health strategy by signing the online petition.

Spotlight on mental health for Men’s Health Week 2024

Elsewhere in the UK during Men’s Health Week, many charities and organisations are shining the spotlight on male mental health.

Inclusive Employers wants to get men talking about mental health during Men's Health WeekInclusive Employers have highlighted the fact that 2 in 5 men admit to regularly feeling low or worried, but that 4 in 10 refuse to talk about their mental health. In fact, 4 in 10 men also admitted that they would only seek professional help for their mental wellbeing if they experienced suicidal thoughts or self-harm. Meanwhile, men living with mental health problems earn, on average, 42% less than men with positive mental health.

They urge businesses to get involved with Men’s Health Week, explaining that it offers “an opportunity for organisations to show that men’s health is an important concern to them, so that male colleagues may be more likely to speak up when they are experiencing low mental health, before the problem becomes more complex.”

Inclusive Employers offer the following suggestions to help organisations support Men’s Health Week 2024:

  • Invite male colleagues to speak at events and share their health stories, both mental and physical
  • Read and share The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Men’s Mental Health among your colleagues and employees
  • Use their bitesize inclusion toolkit to facilitate conversations about men’s health
  • Equip managers with the knowledge and skills to manage inclusively with training in key subjects, such as mental health, disability and equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Conduct an Equality Impact Assessment to review whether there are any organisational barriers for men when accessing health and wellbeing resources at work
  • Join in the conversation on social media using the hashtag #MensHealthWeek

Male mental health can be a huge problem in industries such as construction, farming and manufacturingMeanwhile, leading UK charity Mates in Mind is encouraging its supporters to start conversations about male mental health within their own organisations and across their professional networks during Men’s Health Week.

The charity promotes the development of positive mental health in the workplace, working across industries but particularly focusing on sectors such as construction, transport, logistics and manufacturing. These are traditionally male dominated industries where a ‘macho’ type culture can prevail and talking about mental health problems can typically be viewed as taboo.

Mates in Mind quote the following statistics relevant to mental health within these work environments:

  • In 2021, there were 6,319 suicides registered in the UK, of which 507 were in construction alone
  • A third of construction workers live and work with severe levels of anxiety
  • Drivers of worklift trucks had a suicide rate 85% higher than the national average, van drivers had a rate 25% higher and drivers of large goods vehicles 20% higher than the national average
  • The vast majority of farmers in the UK (95%) under the age of 40 report that poor mental health is one of the biggest hidden problems facing the industry

The charity says that Men’s Health Week “aims to raise awareness of men’s health and to encourage all men to seek help to address any health concerns that they may be experiencing. We believe that there is no health without mental health, and we wholeheartedly advocate for everyone seeking help when they need it.”

They are running a free webinar on Wednesday 12th June and provide a range of free resources to help organisations enhance the mental health of their workforce.

Training to support workplace wellbeing

First Response Training (FRT) is one of the UK’s largest and leading national training providers.

Training is important to help promote positive mental and physical health and wellbeing in the workplaceThey deliver a wide and diverse range of training for businesses and organisations across all industry sectors and throughout the UK. Their course range includes training in the fields of health and safetyfirst aidfire safetymanual handlingmental healthfood safetyhealth and social care and more.

Their health and safety training is mapped to UK standards and legislation and follows HSE guidelines. The portfolio includes courses such as Health and Safety, Managing Health and Safety, Risk Assessment, Accident and Incident Investigation, Working at Height, Asbestos Awareness and many more.

They can also provide training in key topics such as Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Learning Disability Awareness and Diabetes Awareness.

An accredited Mindful Employer themselves, FRT also provides a suite of specialist mental health training courses, including Understanding Mental HealthMental Health Awareness in the WorkplaceManaging StressAnxiety and Phobias AwarenessSelf-Harm Awareness and Suicide Awareness.

They can also provide qualified, approved trainers to deliver accredited Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training courses, including the Adult, Youth and Lite versions.

A trainer from FRT says:

“All individuals need to be fully engaged in maintaining, improving and safeguarding their physical and mental health. It’s imperative that we are able to get both men and women, across all economic groups and working in all industries across the UK, talking about their health issues and seeking advice, support and more information to address their mental health, emotional wellbeing and physical wellness.

“Training in key subjects, such as mental health, can help support a positive workplace culture where health concerns are shared and everyone has equal access to information, advice and support to benefit their physical and mental health.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to