Men's Health Week 2009

Men's Health Week (MHW) 2009 ran from Monday 15th June until Sunday 21st June.  The theme for this year was: "Men and Access to Services".

One of the biggest risks to men’s health is their reluctance to seek help at times of difficulty or to take part in health improvement programmes.  This is often because these services and programmes are not delivered in ways that take account of men’s particular needs.

To mark this week, the Men's Health Forum in Ireland (MHFI) ...

  • Distributed posters to GPs' surgeries / places where men congregate (such as Bookies and Golf Clubs) alerting them to the need to seek help early before a problem gets out of control.  There were two posters disseminated - one for the Republic of Ireland (PDF 825KB) and one for Northern Ireland (PDF 825KB).
  • Offered GPs and other health providers some tried-and-tested "Top Tips" (PDF 58KB) to support men to access primary care services.
  • Promoted the importance of male health via national media.  For example, the RTE Nationwide television programme screened an in-depth feature on the need to focus on men's health.
  • Encouraged health care providers and organisations from the statutory, voluntary and community sectors to "do something extra" for men and boys during Men's Health Week.  Click here to see a few examples of what took place throughout Ireland.

MHFI also commissioned an evaluation (PDF 1.5MB) of its activities during this week.

Other useful resources for Men's Health Week 2009 included ...

  • The "Getting Inside Men's Health" report by Noel Richardson - which helped to inform the development of the National Men's Health Policy in the Republic of Ireland

Examples of what took place:

A Guide to Men's Health for An Post Staff - Working in partnership with the Men's Health Forum in Ireland, An Post developed a men's health booklet titled: "Male Minder: A Guide to Men's Health for An Post Staff".  This was distributed to all An Post employees during Men's Health Week 2009.  The booklet focused on both general men's health issues as well as specific occupational health issues.  An evaluation of the impact of this initiative was also conducted. Click here (PDF 8MB) for a copy of this guide, and here (PDF 1MB) for the cover pages.

Man Alive! Conference - Following on from the success of the inaugural Man Alive! conference last year, this year’s men’s health event (a partnership between BT and the Ulster Cancer Foundation) took place on Tuesday 16th June 2009 in NICVA, Duncairn Gardens, Belfast.

North East Men’s Health Awareness Days - Men’s Health Fairs took place on Tuesday 16th June 2009 in Cavan General Hospital and on Friday 19th June in Monaghan Hospital (10.00am - 4.00pm each day).  Each event included information on men’s health issues, and advice on healthy lifestyles and health gain. The Marie Keating Foundation was also in attendance.

"Focus on Fathers" Helpline - Parents Helpline (within Parents Advice Centre) provides support and guidance on parenting and family issues, and recognises that fathers have a crucial influence on their child’s development.  However, parenting can be stressful for fathers (as well as mothers) and, to support these men, a special “Focus on Fathers” campaign took place during Men's Health Week.  A confidential freephone helpline is still available to any father in Northern Ireland who would like support to address a family issue (Tel: 0808 8010 722).

Men’s Health Information Evening - This event took place at 8.00pm on Wednesday 17th June at the Connect Family Resource Centre, 159 Moneymore Estate, Drogheda, Co. Louth.  It was open to men only - to help heighten awareness of preventable male health problems, and to encourage early detection and treatment of health difficulties for men and boys.  For more information contact Nicola at 00353 (0) 419846608

Carlow Men’s Health Project - The Carlow Men’s Health Project (CMHP) was established in July 2007, and is supported by a number of community-based statutory and voluntary services.  The project aims to raise awareness of health amongst the most vulnerable men in Carlow town and county.  This year, in keeping with the theme for “International Men’s Health Week”, the CMHP brought local health and community services to where men convene.  The first outing was at the local GAA grounds (Dr Cullen Park), on 6th June, at the semi-final of the Christy Ring Cup between Carlow and Kerry.  A total of 40 men availed of health screening that consisted of measuring Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure and cholesterol.  Health information was also given to many others.  The CMHP has plans to offer this service at local marts throughout the summer, and at the annual “Tullow Show” in August.  It is hoped that by offering this screening and educating men about their health, men may be supported to be proactive about their health and to attend their GP if they have a health concern rather than delaying seeking help.  This project is supported by the Health Service Executive (HSE) South Area, and is being evaluated in partnership with Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT).

Men's Health Sessions in Prisons - The Northern Ireland Prison Service organised Men's Health Awareness sessions - delivered by Action Cancer - in all three prison establishments. They sought to raise awareness of the need to seek help at an early stage and the value of early detection.

Stuck In The Middle - The Centre for Young Men’s Studies has carried out a series of consultations with 130 young men, aged 13-16 years, from more than 20 areas across both Catholic and Protestant communities.  The purpose of this research was to give a voice to young men’s attitudes and experience of violence, conflict and safety; to initiate discussion and debate about the needs of young men and the problems some young men cause within their communities; and to make tentative suggestions for initiatives and interventions that can increase safety and reduce violence and conflict within communities.  A presentation of the findings took place on 16th June 2009 from 10.00am to 1.00pm in YouthAction Northern Ireland, 14 College Square North, Belfast.

Dry Arch Dad’s Day - The Dry Arch Children’s Centre in Dungiven, Co. Derry, invited all dads and grandads to come along with their children/grandchildren to enjoy a fun-packed afternoon of activities on Saturday 20th June 2009 from 2.00pm to 4.30pm.  Refreshments were provided, and there was a free football for all children who attended.  Activities included men's health checks and advice, design and make your own breakfast set, free hair cuts, a complimentary photograph, face painting, PINATA filled with toys and sweets for the children.

Dads’ Fun and Health Day - LAST Sure Start ran a Dads’ Fun and Health Day in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, on Saturday 20th June 2009.

North Belfast Men’s Health Event - a community-led Men’s Health Event took place on Monday 15th June 2009 in the Concorde Community Centre, 36 Alliance Road, Belfast from 10.00am - 2.00pm. This included “MOT checks” (including blood pressure, sugar levels, cholesterol and BMI) as well as alternative therapies, hair cuts and Turkish Shaves.