Post –Movember Check Up – the Write Up

BCHLA co-hosted a fantastic webinar in December with our friends at CDPAC (Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada). Both of our speakers, Dr. Larry Goldenberg and Dr. John Oliffe, were able to share some of the wealth of knowledge and experience that they bring to the topic of men’s health and wellness Check out the full recording!

The webinar explored why men’s health matters, provided data showing why more emphasis on men’s health is needed, and highlighted some of the great work going on to reach men in Canada and get them thinking about their health

Dr. Larry Goldenberg’s energetic and visual presentation brought us up to date on men’s health status in Canada. He urged us to think beyond the ‘penis and prostate’ and engage men to think about their health before it becomes an issue. He identified men’s health as, not in competition with other important audiences but rather, a missing part of the family health puzzle.

Both presenters were quick to highlight the need for men’s mental health promotion as well. Larry went over the ‘big three’ reasons for the gap in life expectancy which explain men’s higher rate of premature mortality including: cardiovascular disease, suicide and motor vehicle crashes. Rates of workplace injury and the results from risk-taking behaviors also impact men’s health and are high on the list of mortality statistics.

An interesting point raised by the speakers, is the importance of working with men to demonstrate where support is available and how communication can alleviate some of the high risk behaviours that negatively affect their health. Larry’s work with the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation flags the issues and provides information to support small behavior changes. Telling men “don’t change much”, but get started on little things that can improve your health.

Dr. John Oliffe provided an update on the most recent research findings from the men¹s health research program at UBC. John described effective ways for identifying and treating men’s depression and developing male suicide prevention programs. John’s work has been supported by the Movember Foundation, which has been a huge supporter of efforts to change how we reach out to men and address their mental health.

John outlined the need for different types of supports for men, who are diagnosed with depression at much lower rates than women, but who are vastly over represented in successful suicide attempts. Unfortunately, depression in men often gets missed.

He identified the three S’s – shame, stigma and social isolation as major factors that affect men’s self-perception especially during times of transition and in relationship to their work situations.

John’s research is focused on reaching out to men where they are, rather than trying to get men to go to the doctors as a first step. And this is true throughout the life course. One example is the Men’s Sheds program that appeal to older men, who may be retired and have time on their hands that used to be filled by work, but now find themselves socially isolated. Men’s Sheds provide a space for men to relate with one another not around their health but in a safe space. Combatting social isolation and creating different ways to reach out to men are critical for improving men’s mental health.

BCHLA applauds the work of both Larry and John in bringing forward the critical issue of men’s mental and physical health – their work certainly informs our approach to workplace health with our WoW initiative.

Presenters:

Dr. Larry Goldenberg: CM, OBC, MD, FRCSC, FACS, FCAHS, DABU is Professor and former Head of Urologic Sciences at the University of British Columbia, and is founding Director of the Vancouver Prostate Centre. In 2009 he created the Men’s Health Initiative of BC and in 2014 became the founding Chairman of the nation-wide Canadian Men’s Health Foundation. He has been recognized for his contributions to Canadian health care by being inducted into the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada.

Dr. John Oliffe: PhD, MEd, RN is a Professor in the UBC School of Nursing. His research program in masculinities and men’s health has focused on prostate cancer, depression and suicide, and men’s smoking. He has also collaborated, providing expertise on a range of other men’s health issues including immigrant men’s heart health, male youth sexual health, Aboriginal men’s health, incarcerated men’s health, fathering and unintentional childhood injury, gay men’s intimate partner violence, and men’s experiences and expressions of grief following the death of a male peer. These collaborations have enabled him to build research capacity in masculinities and men’s health in Canada. His current work can be found at www.menshealthresearch.ubc.ca.

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