This Men’s Health Week, we’re encouraging men to better connect with their health and wellbeing, by raising awareness of the preventable health problems facing Australian men and asking them ‘who’s on your team?’
As part of this year’s theme ‘Connecting for Men’s Health’, Healthy Male, a national men’s health information organisation, is reminding men that staying connected with their team and seeking help early is vital for supporting and maintaining good health and wellbeing.
Your team can include friends, family, work colleagues, community groups and health professionals, and this connection has never been more important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is particularly important to stay connected with health services and online health information because we know that men are less likely to seek medical advice.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said one of the health issues exclusive to men is prostate cancer, which is currently the fourth most common cause of cancer death in Australian men.
“This is an ongoing focus for our Government, and I am pleased to announce that fifteen new prostate care nurses will be will be employed in health services or cancer centres across Australia in 2021-22, as part of Prostate Cancer Nurses Program,” Minister Hunt said.
“The $23 million Program, which we announced in the 2019-2020 Budget, was established to support existing prostate cancer nurses and fund positions in more than 40 new locations.
“There will now be a total of 72 (54.5 fulltime equivalent) Commonwealth-funded PCNs across Australia, to provide vital care and information to men and their families affected by prostate cancer.”
Another way men can connect and support each other is through the more than 1,000 Men’s Sheds around Australia, which the Australian Government supports with $1 million worth of grants each year through the National Shed Development Programme (NSDP).
Regional Health Minister, Mark Coulton said the Federal Government was opening round 22 of the NSDP on Tuesday, 15 June, and encouraged Men’s Sheds across Australia to apply for funding.
“Men’s Sheds provide a safe and friendly environment for men to gather and or work on meaningful projects, with the ultimate aim of improving the health and wellbeing of their members,” Minister Coulton said.
“I am also pleased to announce that work will soon begin on the $1.5 million Regional Coordinators for Men’s Sheds Initiative, which helps Men’s Sheds to connect with local health services and promote health events for their members.”
Connection is particularly critical in supporting men’s mental health and reducing the risk of suicide. Mental health and suicide prevention is a key priority of the Government, with the 2021-22 Budget including a record $2.3 billion investment into mental health and suicide prevention services.
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said the Government currently funds a range of activities that specifically target Australian men who may be at high risk of suicide.
“Through the National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program, which received a further $61.6 million in the Budget, we’re funding programs like acMATES In Construction and The OzHelp Foundation, to raise awareness, reduce stigma and provide support to men across workplaces in Australia,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.
The Budget also included $6.3 million to increase specialised early intervention mental health support in the largely male-dominated Fly-in Fly-out/ Drive-in Drive-out industry.
“We’re also working in partnership with the states and territories, to provide universal aftercare services to all Australians, including men, who have attempted suicide or experienced suicidal distress, ensuring they can access all the support they need.”
We encourage all Australian men, young and old, to participate in Men’s Health Week, which runs from 14 to 20 June.
We thank the organisations comprising the Men’s Health Initiative for their ongoing work in promoting men’s health and wellbeing, and for leading lead events and activities across Men’s Health Week.
Applications for the next round of Men’s Sheds grants is open until 26 July 2021. Those wanting to submit an application can visit https://mensshed.org/development-grants.
Further information on the events and activities to be conducted across the week can be found at www.menshealthweek.org.au.