"It’s important for men to understand that added-value support within benefits and insurances can offer early intervention, but communication also needs to include messages that will help more men feel comfortable in coming forward."
Today marks the start of Men's Health Week, an annual observance which runs in the week leading up to Father's Day and aims to raise awareness about men's health as well as promote strategies for better physical and mental well-being.
To coincide with this year's Men’s Health Week, RedArc is highlighting the importance of early intervention support, urging more men to be aware of and access services that may be included within their health and protection policies - leading to better health outcomes.
Men seek help when symptoms are severe
Despite a growing number of men now seemingly ready to address their mental health issues, a result of the shift in the narrative that having a mental health issue is no longer a weakness and discussing it according to RedArc, men are still waiting until symptoms are severe before they seek support
For example, many men will ignore the signs and symptoms of serious physical illnesses like cardiovascular diseases or bowel cancer until they are acute, and this reluctance to seek early support is evident for mental health conditions too.
For many conditions, early intervention can reduce the likelihood of conditions becoming more serious as well as lead to better health outcomes, but men’s hesitancy to tackle their health concerns promptly means they are not benefitting in the same way that women are.
Christine Husbands commercial director for RedArc, (pictured) says: “Added-value services will support an individual whether they reach out for help or are referred at any stage of an illness but we can’t stress enough how early intervention really is key. By identifying and providing effective early support, an individual’s longer-term health and wellbeing outcomes are significantly improved.”
Ignorance is not the root cause of a failure to seek help
There is a misconception that men are simply ignorant about their symptoms: whether for mental or physical health, however, RedArc’s experience highlights that most men usually have an awareness of a problem but prefer not to tackle it until they get to a point when they can no longer avoid it.
RedArc finds that the underlying reason for this reluctance to seek help is because men still feel they need to 'cope' and have a 'breadwinner' mentality, and are less likely to admit that they are struggling and are reluctant to take time off from work.
A partner is often the spokesperson
Even when men reach a breaking point and concede the need for support, RedArc reports that it is not uncommon for a man to ask his partner to initially speak on his behalf – partly driven by embarrassment and also because men are less practised in conversing on health matters. RedArc has had very few cases where a male partner is asked to discuss a health matter on behalf of their female partner.
Christine Husbands concludes: “It’s important for men to understand that added-value support within benefits and insurances can offer early intervention, but communication also needs to include messages that will help more men feel comfortable coming forward. This includes highlighting the confidentiality, longevity and personalisation of the service available.”