This week is Men's Health Week, organised by the Men's Health Forum to promote awareness of all aspects of men's health.
Poverty and other socio-economic factors play a very important role in a person's health status and life expectancy. This includes where they live, the work they do and their social and financial circumstances.
Statistics show that:
One man in five dies before the age of 65 (1)
Professionals live, on average, 8 years longer than unskilled workers (2)
Over the 2004–06 to 2008–10 period, the local area with the highest male and female life expectancy at birth was Kensington and Chelsea in London. For males life expectancy in this area increased by 2.1 years from 83.0 years in 2004–06 to 85.1 years in 2008–10. At the same time female life expectancy improved by 2.7 years from 87.1 years to 89.8 years (Reference: ONS). The area with the lowest male and female life expectancy at birth in each period was Glasgow City. In 2008–10 male life expectancy in this area was 71.6 years, 13.5 years lower than in Kensington and Chelsea. For females life expectancy in Glasgow City was 78.0 years in 2008–10, 11.8 years lower than in Kensington and Chelsea (Office for National Statistics) (1).
Some specific groups of men have much lower levels of life expectancy. For example, the average age of death of homeless men is 48 (Crisis) and gypsies/travellers are estimated to live 10-12 years fewer than the settled population (Irish Traveller Movement) (1).
Men have lower levels of health literacy than women with men twice as likely to have inadequate health literacy (1)
Men are less likely than women to use a general practice or visit a pharmacy. In persons aged 20-40, women attended a general practice twice as often (1)
Men are less likely than women to acknowledge illness or to seek help when sick. Health is often seen as a feminine concern (1).
Focus on stress
The theme for this year's Men's Health Week is beating stress.
Stress can be caused by many of the life changes that also bring people to Turn2us, such as redundancy, unemployment, disability or illness, having a baby, brining up children, changes in family relationships or a bereavement.
Men in particular can find it hard to admit to being stressed. Many bottle up their feelings and find it hard to ask for help.
The message of Men's Health Week is: "talk about how you beat stress, talk about what causes it. Talk to your mates, talk to your family. And if you want to talk to a professional try the Men’s Health Forum’s new Beat Stress service." To be launched as part of Men's Health Week 2016, this is "a free text chat with experts trained in beating stress, no names, no hassle".
Our own figures (3) about the gender of Turn2us website users back up the Men's Health Week findings on health literacy.
Many more women than men are Turn2us users:
- 68% of our users are women and 31.5% are men
- 65.8% of people who have used the Benefits Calculator are women and 34.2% are men*
- 74.4% of users of our Grants Search were women and 25.6% men*.
As worry about money can be a leading cause of stress, Turn2us is urging anyone worried about their financial situation to visit our #BenefitsAware section to check your benefits entitlements and make sure you are claiming everything you are entitled to. There is also our Grants Search, which has almost 3,000 charitable funds listed with information on eligibility based on background, personal circumstances and needs.
The Your Situation section on our website contains information resources on benefits and grants depending on your specific situation and a Find an Adviser tool to help you find face-to-face advice in your local area.
Source and more information about Men's Health Week: Men's Health Forum website
1. Men's Health Forum Statistics 2016
2. Child Poverty Action Group
3. Turn2us survey statistics
* These figures include people who just used the tool mentioned and people who used both the Benefits Calculator and Grants Search.