Breaking the silence: Men’s Health Week 2024

This week is Men’s Health Week and I’m reminded of the old saying… Big boys don’t cry? Men don’t talk?

Well, this year’s theme for Men’s Health Week is all about proving that wrong by following the advice of the late, great Bob Hoskins.

Remember his iconic BT ad campaign from 1994? “It’s good to talk.” This simple phrase has never been more relevant.

The Men’s Health Forum is also taking a cue from our very own King Charles this year. His openness about his struggles with an enlarged prostate led to a surge in awareness and action. Following his public disclosure, visits to the NHS page on prostate conditions skyrocketed to 16,410, up from just 1,414 the day before his announcement.

Prostate Cancer UK also reported nearly double the number of users for its online risk checker.

This goes to show the tremendous impact that honest sharing can have—especially when it comes from such a high-profile figure.

We should be shouting about Men’s Health from the highest rooftops!

Why Men’s Health Week Matters

Men’s Health Week is an annual observance aimed at raising awareness about the health challenges men face and promoting strategies for better physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

Originating in the USA in 1994, it is now observed globally during the week leading up to Father’s Day each year. This significant event encourages men of all ages to prioritise their health, seek preventive care, and engage in important health conversations.

Understanding Stress in the Workplace

Stress is an unavoidable part of life, although it can become particularly overwhelming in the workplace – and especially for MEN, it seems.

Workplace stress is the physical and emotional response that occurs when the demands of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker.

It can stem from various factors such as long hours, heavy workload, job insecurity, and conflicts with colleagues or management.

Shocking Statistics That Highlight the Importance

Here are some eye-opening statistics from the Men’s Health Forum that underscore why Men’s Health Week is so crucial:

  • 1 in 5 men die before the age of 65.
  • In the UK, men die on average 3.5 years younger than women.
  • 4 in 5 deaths by suicide are by men.
  • Suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 35.
  • In 2021, there were 6,319 suicides registered in the UK, with 507 in the construction industry alone.
  • A third of construction workers live and work with severe levels of anxiety.
  • Drivers of work lift trucks have a suicide rate 85% higher than the national average.
  • Van drivers have a suicide rate 25% higher than the national average.
  • Drivers of large goods vehicles have a 20% higher suicide rate than the national average.
  • Virtually all UK farmers (95%) under the age of 40 rank “poor mental health” as one of the biggest hidden problems facing their industry today.

Mental health issues do not discriminate, as these shocking stats prove —they affect men across all sectors and industries.

Recognising the Signs of Stress

It’s essential to recognise the signs of stress early to take proactive steps towards managing it.

Common signs include:

  • Physical Symptoms: Headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, sleep disturbances and gastrointestinal issues.
  • Emotional Symptoms: Anxiety, irritability, mood swings, depression and a sense of being overwhelmed.
  • Behavioural Symptoms: Changes in appetite, withdrawal from social interactions, decreased productivity and increased absenteeism.

Strategies to Increase Resilience

As another old saying goes “If it’s to be….it’s up to me”.  Optimising mental health requires daily effort and commitment and well-practiced routines help enormously including…..

  1. Prioritise Sleep: Ensure you get enough rest each night to rejuvenate your body and mind.
  2. Develop Strong Relationships: Building a support network with family, friends, and colleagues can provide emotional support and practical help.
  3. Set Realistic Goals: Break tasks into manageable steps and set achievable goals to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  4. Eat a Balanced Diet: Proper nutrition fuels your body and mind, helping to maintain energy levels and mental clarity.
  5. Stay Active: Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine to boost your mood and health.
  6. Maintain a Work-Life Balance: Set boundaries to ensure you have time for relaxation and activities you enjoy.
  7. Practice Relaxation Techniques: Engage in activities that help you unwind, such as reading, listening to music, or spending time in nature.
  8. Seek Professional Help: Seek the support of a mental health professional if needed.  Easier said than done, we know….especiallyif you’re a man, right?  Well, they say a problem shared is a problem halved, so maybe even just an offload with a mate over a coffee or beer could help?

And let’s remember there is ALWAYS someone at the end of a ‘phone, who will sit WITHOUT judgment of any kind, WITHOUT opinion or advice, WITHOUT blaming or shaming you – just a compassionate, listening ear who’ll give you all the time in the world YOU need to find some PEACE OF MIND, rather than a piece of their mind.

That listening ear is the Samaritans.  If you need a safe and private space to talk, 116 123 is the number.

A Final Thought

In the words of the late Robin Williams, “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy. Because they know what it feels like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anybody else to feel like that.”

Let’s take this year’s Men’s Health Week as a reminder to break the silence, prioritise our mental health, and support each other through the challenges we face….WHATEVER our gender 💚

Further Support

For more information and support, here are some online resources:


By taking small steps every day, we can ALL improve our mental health and support those around us to do the same.

This week, let’s focus on MEN’S mental health and make a difference this Men’s Health Week and beyond….remembering Bob’s great advice “it’s good to talk”.

Hello... I'm Marie Cross

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