National Men's Health Week
17-Jun-2009 12:34 pm
Are we doing our best for men?
An article published in The Guardian last week (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/jun/10/men-doctors) about why men don't visit their doctor promted some interesting comments from men and women - some blaming men and some blaming the health service. But I didn't see anyone talking about what we can do (and many PCTs are doing) in practical terms.
I work for a communications agency that does a lot of work around improving public health and health inequalities. We’ve found that while it’s true that men are less likely than women to see their GP or get advice if they are feeling unwell, it’s unfair to tar all men with the same brush. And in fact, it’s this ‘same brush’ approach that could in the past have caused the problem with getting men to the GP today.
Everyone responds better to messages that are tailored to them. The problem is that many health messages are very generic and do not take into account the various things that stop men thinking about their health.
We’ve worked with men across the country – ranging from white working class groups to specific BME communities, from over 60’s to under 25’s. What they have in common is a feeling that generic health messages ‘don’t apply to them’. Men need to be communicated with using the social marketing approach, which looks at specific barriers and finds ways to counter them. One project we recently worked on took communications to men at work, through their families and through their religious and community ties. It produced a 45% increase in take up of the promoted service.
Men aren’t stupid, fatalistic or immune to caring about their health – they just need to feel that they will get something out of going to the doctor.
Athena Lamnisos, Forster
(uploaded by email@example.com on behalf on A Lamnisos)
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