Overview

Getting guys to talk about and take action on their health is not always easy. This is a section aimed at getting information out to the guys, whether you have come here direct or you are a friend seeking information for a guy you know, then this is a great starting point.

Topic Videos

Man Therapy

How do men handle problems and stresses - Dr Brian Ironwood introduces www.mantherapy.org.au

  • Author: Beyond Blue
  • Upload Date: 2013-06-07

Created by BeyondBlue

Stories on this Topic

Featured Story (text)

U need 2 ask

U need 2 ask


A work by Shanlee

My whole life I haven't had much money. My mum is a single mother and she has found it extremely hard to put food on the table. We have had to live very simply and have not really had many luxuries like the internet, phones, iPods, iPhone, things like that. On top of that my mum has had many emotional, and mental problems that we have had to deal with, without any support from our family, but we found help. I just want to encourage people to speak up and ask for help if they need it.

Click to read the text

A testimony that shows people there is hope. All they need to do is ask.

  • Author: Shanlee
  • Upload Date: 2011-07-19

I hope that my story will encourage people, n that it will help people to speak up.

Factsheet

Provided by Reach Out

We have partnered with Reach Out to bring you the best factsheet information we can on this topic. Reach Out offers information, support and resources to help young people improve their understanding of mental health issues, develop resilience, and increase their coping skills and help-seeking behaviour.

Mens' Health

Preventative Health

men's health

Image sourced Flickr CC by bobby t

The best thing that Australian guys can do in 2012 about their health is to get proactive. By taking preventative action you can reduce the danger of major health risks including depression, type 2 diabetes and even prostate cancer (now the most diagnosed cancer in Australia per year).

Every positive change is a step towards better and longer lasting health and happiness. By starting an open discussion with friends and family and getting a yearly check up with your GP, you can safeguard your lifestyle and wellbeing for years to come. There are a few simple steps men can take to actively safeguard their health and protect themselves from disease and death.

Visit a GP and know your family history

One of the easiest and most effective ways that you can take care of their health is by getting to know a GP and having a checkup once a year.

A GP will be able to check for all age appropriate health risks, answer any questions you may have about your health and outline what steps to take to make sure you stay healthy for the future.

By monitoring your health regularly and being aware of any illnesses or risks in your family history, you will be more likely of catching any health issues early and giving yourself the best chance at surviving potentially life threatening illness, many of which don’t always have obvious symptoms in their early stages.

Men can find a new lease on life by having a checkup with a GP once a year and being proactive about their health.

Regular exercise

The benefits of regular exercise can be huge for physical, mental and sexual health. By getting into a routine that includes 30 minutes of physical exercise a day, you can be well on the way to ensuring your health for the future. Research shows that higher levels of physical activity can reduce cardiovascular disease, help fight depression, help prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes and improve sexual function.

So take control of your health with 30 minutes of daily exercise. Check out our section on staying healthy for more info

Healthy eating

Just as important as regular exercise is to make sure that you maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Eating well is important for both mental and physical health, so you need to know what foods to eat in what quantities and what foods to avoid to minimise health risks.

A balanced diet means eating a wide variety of healthy foods including plenty of vegetables, fruit and cereals (like bread, rice and pasta), some lean meat, chicken or fish, dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cheese) and lots of water. It’s a good idea to avoid fatty foods and foods with lots of sugar in them.

It can be hard to change your diet, so the best way to do it is to try and make small changes over time and eat healthy foods that you enjoy. For example, you could start by swapping a sweet for a piece of fruit. Check out out section on staying healthy for more info.

Stop smoking – it’s the only healthy option

Men's Health

Image sourced from Flickr Cc by Tim Hulme

Smoking causes 40% of deaths in men who are aged under 65. It is no secret and everybody knows that if you are a smoker, it increases your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and a range of cancers and other diseases.

Quitting is the only healthy option. The body has an amazing ability to recover from the effects of smoking after you quit. After 24 hours the carbon monoxide in your blood will have dropped dramatically and all the nicotine will have been metabolized. Within a year of quitting the risk of coronary heard disease is halved and after 10-15 years of not smoking your risk of disease will be the same as those who have never smoked. There are a number of services available for those who want to quit – speak to your GP or call Quitline on 131 848 for help. Check out our section on smoking for more info.

Maintain a healthy mind and a healthy body

Depression affects one is six people at any time. Everyone can struggle with their day-to-day experiences, but the challenge facing men is to realize when they are getting overwhelmed and knowing how to get help. Recognising the symptoms of depression in yourself and others can be the first step to beating it. Symptoms include tiredness, irritability, sleep disturbance, and loss of interest in work or other activities.

Other things to look out for as risk factors include family history of mental illness, excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, stress, unemployment and chronic illness.

This year is the chance to learn about mental health and find out who to talk to if you or someone you know isn’t feeling right. Remember that there are services out there to help you or you can chat with your GP. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can start getting back to your old happy self.

Many of the issues that can seriously affect a man’s lifestyle and life can be avoided by proactive and early medical assistance. To find out more the best thing you can do is visit your GP and ask what steps you can take to more effectively look after your health. Check out our section on mental health for more info.

Maintaining healthy relationships with family, friends and mates

Close relationships with family, friends and mates can form the cornerstone for a man’s whole life and wellbeing. They are the most important source of love, support and understanding available and often underpin a man’s sense of self. Healthy relationships are not just limited to those with wives, partners and family, and often mates and close friends are just as important. One of the best things for men to do is to make sure that they have at least three close friends and mates who they know they can talk to and with whom they feel comfortable discussing anything. Often the harder something is to talk about the better you will feel when you finally express it.

Just as important is to make sure that you are there for your mates when they might need you.

One of the many great ways for men to get together with their mates, while at the same time making a contribution to their community is a group called Men’s Shed, which provides places for to men build on the strengths they already have with each other. To find out more about Men’s Shed and to locate the shed closest to you, visit the Australian Men’s Shed Association at www.mensshed.org

The other side of every healthy relationship is that there will inevitably be conflicts and stresses at some point. This is a natural part of every relationship. Being able to handle and deal with these differences is part of establishing and maintaining a healthy relationship, and part of being a man. Relationships will actually be strengthened by talking about differences and learning how to overcome them.

Differences are always going to exist in any relationship and the best way to find appropriate solutions are through open and honest discussion. If you want more information about how to keep your relationship on track, or if you need some help through a difficult time, then contact Mensline Australia on 1300 78 99 78. Check out our section on relationships for more info.

Mental Health

Mental health is something that men are getting better and better at talking about. There is a growing understanding that although mental health issues can be triggered by stresses in daily life, they are clinical diseases that often require outside help and medical treatment. They can affect how a man feels, thinks, behaves and interacts with other people, and it is important that men feel they are able to talk about how they are feeling with their family and also their GP.

The most common mental illnesses are anxiety and depressive disorders. Everyone experiences strong feelings of tension, fear, or sadness at times. However a mental illness is present when these feelings become so disturbing and overwhelming that people have great difficulty coping with day-to-day activities such as work, enjoying leisure time and maintaining relationships.

Depression

1 in 8 men will suffer from depression during their lifetime. Depression is more than a low mood. It is a serious illness that can need clinical treatment. Those with depression find it hard to function and it can have a serious affect on a person’s physical and mental health.

Factors which can contribute to depression in men:

  • Drug and alcohol consumption
  • Physical health problems
  • Relationship problems
  • Employment problems
  • Social isolation
  • Significant change in living arrangements (e.g. separation or divorce)

Check our section on depression for more info.

Suicide

In Australian the suicide rate for men is 4 times that of women.

Suicide and suicidal tendencies are still some of hardest issues to talk about socially. It can be easier to approach the subject by having a concrete idea of where men are most vulnerable and what triggers can often lead towards an attempt on ones life.

Some of the most vulnerable men are:

  • Those aged between 25-44, who have the highest rate of suicide.
  • Those who live in rural areas, who have a significantly higher suicide rate than the National average and are twice as likely to take their own life than those living in a major capital city.
  • Those who can be victim to discrimination, such as Aboriginal men, gay and bisexual men, and men from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Some of the most common triggers for suicide are the breakup of a relationship, debilitating physical illness or accident, death of someone close, a suicide of someone famous or from a peer group, or bullying or discrimination.

For more information or to talk to someone about any difficulties that you or someone close to you might be having in their life, please contact LIFELINE on 13 11 14 or at www.lifeline.org.au or contact Mensline Australia on 1300 78 99 8 or at www.menslineaus.org.au

Check out our section on suicide for more information.

Anxiety

We all feel anxious from time to time, however for some people these anxious feelings are overwhelming and cannot be brought under control easily. An anxiety disorder is more than just feeling stressed – it’s a serious condition that makes it hard for the person to cope from day-to-day.

The symptoms of anxiety can include:

  • Feelings of apprehension and dread
  • Feelings of being tense or jumpy
  • Anticipation of the worse
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Nightmares
  • Feelings of being trapped
  • Heart palpitation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feelings of obsession

Check out our section on anxiety for more information

Visit www.headspace.org.au if you're under 25 or www.beyondblue.org.au for more information

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Drug or alcohol dependencies are not the result of a character flaw or weakness – they are illnesses, against which we all need to help.

Alcohol

Alcohol-related harm is responsible for almost 3,000 deaths every year in Australia

Image sourced from Flickr CC license image by martin ujlakiAlcohol is the most widely used and abused recreational drug in Australia. For many drinking is seen as an integral part of Australia’s social culture, but if not consumed responsibly and with an understanding of the short and long term effects, alcohol can be as bad for your health as any other drug.

4 Australians aged under 25 die due to alcohol-related injuries in an average week

When going through a tough time there is often a tendency to drink more. Alcohol, however, is more than just a crutch, and won’t help you get through other issues or pressures in your life. Drinking at a risky level (more than 4 standard drinks in a day) can have many long lasting negative effects on a man’s health, including cancer (of the mouth, throat and liver), brain injuries (including loss of memory, confusion and hallucinations), and even death.

Some of the signs that drinking has become a problem are:

  • Finding yourself thinking about drinking more often than not
  • Having to drink more to feel the alcohol's effects
  • Trouble concentrating,
  • Feeling on edge
  • Not being able to stop when you want to
  • Problems at work like being late, causing accidents or missing days due to drinking
  • Starts to affect you financially
  • Leads to being arrested for violence, drink-driving or public drunkenness

Drinking can affect people differently, so there is no amount of alcohol that can be said to be safe for everyone. You need to take responsibility before drinking and make sure that you know your limits.

Responsible drinking can greatly reduce the risk of immediate injury or long-term health problems. A few simple things to keep in mind include:

  • Eat prior to drinking and while drinking
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water
  • Don’t mix alcohol with other drugs, including prescription medication
  • Don’t do rounds
  • Know your limits
  • Don’t binge drink

Alcohol can be especially harmful if:

  • It is taken with other drugs or medication
  • Under the age 18, with children under the age of 15 at the greatest risk
  • Engaging in risk taking activities like swimming or rock climbing
  • Consumed to excess
  • Driving or using machinery
  • Feeling depressed or anxious
  • Consumed by people with existing health problems

It is important to remember that the health impacts of too much alcohol are both short term and long term. Drink responsibly. If you're under 25 and think drinking could be a problem for yourself or someone you know, or are looking for more information on alcohol abuse, go to. www.headspace.org.au Check our our section on alcohol for more information

Other Drugs

Drug use and particularly drug dependency can be devastating. It can affect personal relationships, ability to study and work, mental health and quality of life. For men who use drugs, learning about the potential effects and looking at why it is that men do use drugs, could save their lifestyle and their life.

Whether it be cannabis, ice (Crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride), Speed (amphetamine sulphate), Ecstasy (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA), or otherwise, drugs have effects ranging from the deterioration of mental health to physical ailments like increased risk of cancer and ultimately death. While they may be marketed as one thing, they are often manufactured in backyard labs, and can contain other more dangerous drugs and toxins. Speed, for example, often contains less than 5% amphetamine sulphate, the rest made up of substances like toilet cleaner and talcum powder.

Why take drugs?

People can take drugs as a form of recreation, or as a way to try and cope with things they can’t deal with in their lives. This shows risks associated with drug use often aren’t properly understood. In the long term, drug use will increase your problems, and decrease your ability to deal with them. Commonly reported mental illnesses linked to drug use include anxiety, depression, paranoia, panic attacks, and psychosis.

Help getting off drugs

Drugs often become central to your life without you realizing it, affecting your personal relationships, ability to study and work, mental health and quality of life. If you are worried about drug use, or would like more information, go to www.drugs.health.gov.au

Check our our section on alcohol and other drugs for more info.

Sexual Health

Having a happy, respectful and loving sexual relationship can be one of the most pleasurable and healthy aspects of a man’s life. Of course, you don’t have to always be in a relationship to enjoy a healthy sex life, but there are a couple of important things that men should be aware of.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Many people find sexually transmitted infections - STIs (also known as sexually transmitted diseases or STDs) very difficult to discuss, but it is vital that you have as much information as possible to allow you to make informed choices.

Particularly among older Australians this can be an important concern, where men are still less likely to use a condom when having casual sex. Results of a national survey on men's health show that safe sex practices are being ignored by older men, who are putting themselves and their partners at risk of sexually transmitted infections.

Don’t be embarrassed to discuss your concerns with a doctor as this may be your opportunity to safeguard your future health. Both men and women should have regular sexual health check-ups, particularly if they have more than one sexual partner.

Safer sex reduces the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection. It includes:

  • using a condom during intercourse; and
  • abstaining from sex if you or your partner has a sexually transmitted infection or symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection. Remember, some STIs do not show any symptoms (such as Chlamydia) so the only way to find out if you’ve got one is to have an STI check up.

STIs check-ups don't take long. A quick check and treatment if necessary can prevent your or your partner’s sexual health from being seriously affected by STIs. Check-ups have proven to be highly effective and in some cases, early screening has literally saved lives. If left untreated, some STIs can lead to more serious health problems such as infertility.

If you are diagnosed with an STI/STD:

  • avoid sex until the STI/STD has been treated and has gone away;
  • always use condoms if you have sex; and
  • make sure your partner is checked out and cleared of infection before you have sex again.
  • Practicing safer sex will help protect both men's and women’s sexual health. For more information on STIs visit www.lovebugs.com.au

Check out our section on sex for more information

Reproductive Health

There can be many misconceptions about sexual health and in particular reproductive health. The best thing that you can is to make sure that you are up to date with the latest information and procedures and speak to your GP if you have any questions.

Testosterone Deficiency

Time to Test Your Testosterone The concern of suffering from low testosterone should not be left to your dad or grandpa. 1 in 200 Australian men under the age of 60 experience testosterone deficiency. This treatable condition could, without a doubt, ruin your daily life.

What is it?

Testosterone (a.k.a. androgen) deficiency is when the body is not creating enough of the hormone testosterone for the body to operate normally. Testosterone is critical for a male to be sexually active and reproduce as well as for them to develop proper male features.

Why you may have it?

Having low testosterone at a young age can be a result of a bad signal from the brain to the testes which is often related to genetic disorders or it may be to do with the testes themselves. Your testes can be in danger due to infections, medications, chemotherapy and cancer.

What to look out for

The symptoms can include: fatigue, low sex drive, weaker erections and orgasms, excessive sweating, hot flushes and an increase in ‘bad’ cholesterol, body hair loss, increased body fat around the abdomen and sometimes breast development.

Test it

Although suffering from testosterone deficiency can’t result in a loss of life it can result in a change of lifestyle.  With a simple visit to your GP, a health check and blood test can be carried out to diagnose the problem. If you are identified to have low testosterone, you and your GP can work together to treat the deficiency to improve your quality of life.

Fix it

Testosterone levels are easily treatable by increasing intake of testosterone. Treatment can be carried out in many ways, these include: oral capsules, injections, implants and patches, depending on the man’s needs. Management of the deficiency has to be continued for the entirety of a man’s life.

As testosterone deficiency can also cause an increase in ‘bad’ cholesterol which in turn can lead to serious heart problems and obesity. It is important that the hormone levels are balanced with treatment to prevent any possible severe illness.

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