This year, Men's Health Week (MHW)Â ran from Monday 13th June until Sunday 19th June 2011.Â The focusÂ in Ireland was upon: "Promoting and Supporting the Health and Well-Being of Men and Boys during Challenging Times".
The world of men, and the roles that they play in it, have certainly changed dramatically in a very short period of time.Â All of these changes bring new challenges (both positive and negative).Â Therefore, the key message for this week was âletâs talk about itâ.
The health of men in Ireland is nothing to joke about ...
- Local men die, on average, about five years younger than women do.
- Males have higher death rates than women for all of the leading causes of death.
- Poor lifestyles are responsible for a high proportion of chronic diseases.
- Late presentation to health services leads to a large number of problems becoming untreatable ...
- The current economic recession has made a huge impact upon menâs jobs, status, income, spending, lifestyle, debt, and sense of security.Â It has also made a major difference to their mental, physical and emotional health.
- On average, men are now living longer than at any time in history, but they are not, necessarily, healthier.
- Men face a range of acute and chronic illnesses, many of which are preventable.
- Fatherâs roles / the expectations of fathers have expanded, and the number of disputed cases relating to access to children is rising.
- Obesity and sedentary lifestyles are on the increase, while healthy eating and exercise are decreasing.
- Depression in men is becoming more prevalent (or at least acknowledged) and the male suicide rate is still extremely high.
- Males are often not aware of where and how to find help and support.
- Young men (particularly) engage in a range of high-risk activities.
- There is increasing recognition that males can be victims of domestic abuse and violence.
- Many men have an interest in sport, but tend to drop away from active participation in it as they get older.
- There are a lot of projects that work with men to improve their health, but we are still unsure about what âeffective practiceâ with men looks like.
- The Republic of Ireland has a Menâs Health Policy, but is it making a difference?Â On the other hand, Northern Ireland does not even have a framework for evaluating if menâs health needs are being met ...
...Â So, for MHW 2011, everyone was encouraged to get talking about these and other issues which present a challenge to men and boys at this time.
Men's Health Week Planning Group
The Men's Health Forum in Ireland (MHFI) recognises that there are a lot of organisations and groups throughout Ireland who can contribute to the health and well-being of men and boys.Â This work is not solely applicable only to those who work directly in the health field.Â Indeed, the theme for this yearâs MHW (promoting and supporting the health and well-being of men and boys during challenging times) offers an opportunity for a very wide range of agencies to participate.
To further the aims of MHW 2011, MHFI convened an all-island Planning and Advisory Group whichÂ met on three occasions between February and May.Â This bodyÂ drew upon the expertise and contacts of individuals from ...
- Belfast Community Sports Development Network
- Belfast Health & Social Care Trust
- British Medical Association (NI)
- Early Years - Toybox Project
- Football Association of Ireland
- Gaelic Athletic Association
- Health Service Executive Dublin / North East
- Irish Cancer Society
- Irish Football Association
- Irish Heart Foundation
- Irish Menâs Sheds Forum
- Irish Rugby Football Union
- Irish Sports Council
- Man Matters Project
- Marie Keating Foundation
- Men Alone in No-man's-land
- Men Ending Domestic Abuse
- Menâs Action Network
- Menâs Development Network
- Mental Health Ireland
- NI Chest, Heart and Stroke
- NI Medical Students Committee
- NUI Maynooth
- Older Menâs Organisation in Ireland
- Southern Health & Social Care Trust
- Sport NI
- Sure Start Fathers-Work Network
- The Rainbow Project
- Ulster Cancer Foundation
- Western Health & Social Care Trust
- YouthAction NI -Â Work with Young Men Unit
New Menâs Health Week Logo and Image Pack
Menâs Health Week (MHW) looked very different this year.Â For the first time in Ireland, there was a common logo and an image pack which could be used, for free, by everyone who wished to raise awareness of the week.Â These were important promotional tools - as one of the key aims for this year was to let as many people as possible know about the week.Â The logo was made available in a range of sizes and formats, there were a selection of web banners on offer, and there was even a âWe Support Menâs Health Weekâ image - for groups and individuals who wanted to be seen to be âdoing their bitâ!Â Details of all of these can be found online at:Â www.mhfi.org/mhw/mhw-image-pack.html
Poster for Menâs Health Week 2011
To highlight MHW 2011, local comedians Joe Rooney (Father Ted and Killinaskully) and Paul Tylak (Stew and Messers Tylak and Rooney) starred in an Ireland-wide poster campaign to raise awareness of the week.Â The message for men was very simple: âThese are challenging times. Itâs no joke. Letâs talkâ.
The posters were available in hard copy (A3 size) and as an electronic file (A4 size).Â Details are available at:Â www.mhfi.org/mhw/mhw-image-pack.html Even those people whoÂ didn't do anything else to support Menâs Health Week (MHW) this year, were encouraged to put up a poster to let everyone know when it was taking place.
To add an extra element of creativity, the Menâs Health Forum in Ireland (MHFI) invited organisations and individuals to put on their thinking caps, and come up with captions for a special online version of the poster.Â PleaseÂ see below for details.
Men's Health Week 2011 Poster Competition
The Menâs Health Forum in Ireland (MHFI) and the Irish Cancer Society (ICS) invited men to mark Men's Health Week 2011 by taking part in an Ireland-wide poster competition.Â The aim of this competition was to find out what males are thinking about at this time - especially in relation to their own health and well-being.
MHFI producedÂ a special version of the MHW 2011 poster.Â This version had âthought bubblesâ coming from the heads of the two main characters.Â Entrants were asked to come up with an idea for what each of these men might be thinking about - in these âchallenging timesâ.
A panel of judges reviewed all the entries on Thursday 28th July 2011, and selected three which, they felt, best represent menâs lives / issues / concerns ...Â in Ireland today.
The three winning entriesÂ came fromÂ Belfast, Cavan and Cork.Â Click on the place names to view these posters (as PDF, 175KB files).Â To see all of the entries, click here [PLEASE NOTE:Â This is a veryÂ large PDF file - 3.77MB - and will take quite a while to load].
These three winners will each receive a pair of tickets for the launch of the âMovemberâ celebrations in Autumn 2011 (which will include travel expenses and overnight accommodation in Dublin).
All entrants were sentÂ an electronic certificate to acknowledge their participation in this competition.
[Click here to see a MS Word copy of the entry form and the 'thought bubbles' posterÂ - 350KB]
Facebook Page Seeks Fans!
To keep everyone up-to-date with the latest news on Menâs Health Week (MHW) 2011, the island-wide Planning Group for MHW created a new Facebook page.Â You can access this at:Â www.facebook.com/MensHealthWeek
However, as all social networkers know, a page such as this is no use unless it has a lot of Fans - thatâs where your help is needed!Â Visit the page, click on the âLIKEâ button, and send the link to all your friends.
Men's Health Forum in IrelandÂ Chairperson, Noel Richardson, with Sean Kelly MEP, at the launch of "The State of Men's Health in Europe" Report
The focus for this year (i.e. letâs talk about the challenging times that we are facing) lent itself to a wide range of ways to mark this occasion.Â However, no one hadÂ to stick rigidly to this particular topic.Â Anything which encouraged men and boys to lead healthier lifestyles, to be more aware of preventable health problems, and to seek early detection and treatment for health difficulties wasÂ very welcome.
Some people had time, energy and resources to plan something big.Â However, even if this was not possible, MHFI offeredÂ simple and easy ways to get involved ...
- Put up a MHW poster in your workplace / community centre / local shop / home / bar.
- Promote the week on your website (using the new MHW logo and/or web banner).
- Link to this webpageÂ from your own website, Facebook page or other social networking site.
- Send an email to everyone in your contacts list to tell them about Menâs Health Week, and ask them to forward the message to all their contacts.
- Visit the MHW 2011 Facebook site (www.facebook.com/MensHealthWeek), become a Fan, and send the link to all your online friends.
- Insert the MHW logo onto the bottom of your outgoing emails for the month of June.
- Check out the latest MHW 2011 news on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MensHealthIRL
- Include information on MHW in your mailouts / newsletters.
- Tell others about what is happening in your area during MHW by posting details on the MHFI website (use the form at: www.mhfi.org/mhw2011project.doc).
- Make one of the MHW images your computer desktop âwallpaperâ during June.
- Encourage the men you know to get involved in some of the activities taking place during MHW 2011.
- Print the MHW logo onto T-shirts that can be worn before and during the week ...
However, if youâre a ...
HEALTH SERVICE PROVIDER why not produce a menâs health leaflet, or offer menâs health (MOT / NCT) checks, or run a menâs health campaign in your area, or consult with local men about what services they need, or give free pedometers to men ...?
COMMUNITY / VOLUNTARY GROUP why not start-up a walking group, or organise a healthy eating cookery class, or form a menâs health group, or launch a menâs swimming / cycling club, or get your local leisure centre / gym to offer a free pass to men during MHW, or collate and display a list of local Helplines / support services ...?
SPORTING BODY why not use your unique position (as many men like sport already) to give out menâs health information at games, or get local men to join-in training sessions, or ask your best known player to give a menâs health talk, or develop forms of your game which older men can participate in, or ...?
LOCAL POLITICIAN / POLICY MAKER why not table a debate on menâs health in the Northern Ireland Assembly / DĂĄil Ăireann / local council chamber, or set-up an inter-party group on menâs health, or host a menâs health seminar in your constituency, or propose a party policy on menâs health, or look at how elements of the Menâs Health Policy in the Republic of Ireland could be introduced to Northern Ireland, or explore the extent of inequalities in health, or set your department the goal of tackling a specific menâs health issue over the coming year ...
EMPLOYER why not organise health checks for men in your workplace, or set-up a regular game of football before / after work, or invite speakers to come in and give talks on specific aspects of menâs health, or produce your own workplace guide to menâs health, or ...?
OTHER SERVICE PROVIDER why not display menâs health information in your public spaces, or direct your service users to menâs health programmes, or provide a room and administrative support for a local menâs health initiative, or ...?
MEDIA PERSON why not cover MHW 2011 in your publication, or research and produce an in-depth special report on a specific menâs health issue, or promote the work of a local menâs health project, or run a series of features on menâs health during MHW 2011, or ...?
WOMAN why not encourage the man / men in your life (partner, father, brother, uncle, grandfather, neighbour, friend, colleague etc.) to take part in one of the MHW events, or to see their GP about that niggling health concern, or to join a menâs health group, or ...?
MAN why not take a few minutes to look at the state of your own health, and make MHW 2011 the start date for a new beginning!!!
Men's Health Forum in Ireland Treasurer, Finian Murray, at the launch of the Waterworks Campaign, with Minister for Health Roisin Shorthall, Paul Carroll GP, and cast members from 'FairÂ City'
Tell others about your Menâs Health Week 2011 Event
The Men's Health Forum in Ireland (MHFI) promoted the details of any activities or events that were held throughout Ireland during Menâs Health Week 2011 on this website.Â This helped everyone to find out what was happening during the week, where it would take place, and how to join in.Â It also gave some recognition and publicity to all those groups across Ireland that are doing something for and with men.
TheseÂ activitiesÂ could include health checks, or a conference, or a launch, or a game, or a seminar, or a competition, or a workshop, or a lunch, or a course, or a drama, or a display, or a health fair ...Â Whatever it was, everyone was encouraged to download, complete and return a registration form to MHFI.