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I had an appointment with my GP a few days ago, it has, especially during and after the pandemic, been increasingly more difficult for any of us to obtain a face to face meeting with our healthcare professionals. That being said, I'm also a man. My long suffering partner is frequently forced to cajole, bribe, argue, and sometimes physically phone the doctors for me and make the appointment. I am terrible at keeping up with my health and any appointments associated with it.

I am reasonably confident that I'm not alone among my fellow men, my son Liam is three years old, we at home are very efficient at making sure he's present for all his appointments and meetings. Studies have shown that men are far less likely to seek medical attention than women and are also far more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviours like smoking and excessive drinking. It is 2022 but still we find ourselves conforming to the roles society has placed upon us, thankfully societal gender roles are slowly evolving into something a lot better.

That being said, why do us men have such reticence, a reluctance to take care of our even most basic health-care needs, men typically went to work and were expected to provide financially for their families, women whether they work or not remain in charge and are responsible for, the care of the household so they take the kids and themselves off to the doctors when they need to. Men for the most part have become uninvolved with family-health maintenance and therefore don't develop the same connections to the health maintenance system, attending medical care practitioners and typically only get involved when they have to, after sustaining an injury or suffering an illness.

This reticence and almost pathological ignorance of our health has a detrimental effect upon us, our life expectancies are lower than women’s, and growing further apart too. 

If we are reluctant to deal with our physical health then the situation is exponentially worse for our mental health. Often fearing to be vulnerable in front of our friends and families, we do our best to  live up to the stoic, tough provider, a tired  trope and one that should be one confined to the fake action  movies where they belong.

A startling fact we should never forget, suicide is the biggest cause of death in young men today, in fact every two hours we lose another man to death by their own hands, this is an epidemic that has existed for years but seems to be increasing in intensity with every passing  generation, this needs to change or we will continue to lose more brothers, dads and sons.  

We keep each other strong at Printed by Us, we build each other up and are always there for each other, we have access to support staff whom can help us to make and attend medical appointments, our supported work is a holistic based approach to recovery and reintegration.

We are granted access to counselling, and other therapies, access to free yoga courses and we have an office running club. We as individuals might not be fantastically responsible when it comes to taking care of our health but thankfully we have people in place who are.

 

- Words by Chris

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