Good health is important for a good life. But there are barriers that get in the way of keeping our body and mind in good nick and sometimes we need help to break them down. It’s important to understand what’s stopping you so you can take proactive steps to overcome it. This Men’s Health Week, we’re looking at five factors that prevent men from seeking information and support when it comes to health and sharing practical tools and resources for bettering your wellbeing.
You might be experiencing denial. Denial is a common barrier to us taking care of our health. We might deny there’s an issue because we think whatever is going on is no big deal, our symptoms are just a part of getting older, or it’s simply a case of mind over matter. When we miss the opportunity to act early, minor issues can become much bigger. It’s important to pay attention to what your body is telling you and seek out information and support as soon as you notice something’s not quite right.
This is known as delayed information seeking. It’s when we don’t act in a timely manner to investigate health concerns. We can often wait and see if it will go away on its own and put off seeking health information until an issue is interfering with daily life.
When we delay getting information from a health professional, minor issues can become major. It’s important to take action as soon as you notice something isn’t quite right so you can get back to your best health.
This is called the social construct of masculinity and it can be a barrier to us looking after our health. Often boys and men have been taught to embody traditionally masculine traits of strength, independence and self-reliance and these can influence our behaviour. They’re positive traits in many parts of life but can become a problem when it comes to taking action on health. There’s nothing weak or soft about seeking out health information and support. Health issues happen to everyone and speaking up about them is the strongest thing you can do.
Feeling nervous or embarrassed about starting a conversation can be a barrier to getting the support you need. Whether it’s with your partner or a health professional, it can be tough to speak up about health concerns but it’s important to take the first step to get the help you need. Remember, your doctor is there to help and there’s nothing they haven’t heard or seen before.
Figuring out what health information you can trust can be a barrier to taking action on our health. With so much information out there and different sources sharing conflicting advice, it can be tough to know what to take on board.
When seeking health advice the best thing you can do is put your trust in the experts – reputable, science-backed online providers, your GP or other health professionals.