An Esperance doctor is calling for more awareness and an open discussion of male health issues this Men’s Health Week, held nationally from June 11 to 17 in 2018.
Esperance Health Campus senior medical practitioner Dr Paddy Glackin said men were worse off across a range of health issues.
“With the exception of conditions that only affect women, pretty much every medical condition affects men more,” he said.
“In addition to things that happen specifically to men, such as prostate and testicular cancer, whether it be lung disease, heart disease, cancer and mental health problems, men have got poorer health all across the board.”
Dr Glackin said men tended to feel less comfortable accessing help, which meant healthcare providers were responsible for making their services more accessible and welcoming to men.
According to Dr Glackin, men’s attitudes toward physical and mental health need to change, but progress was being made.
He said Men’s Health Week was a fantastic opportunity to have a context to talk about men’s health and for men to talk to each other.
“I think there is a culture especially in the bush of soldiering on and being a bloke about it and people think being a bloke is not to complain and seek help,” he said.
“For anybody who’s reading, if there are men in your life, encourage them and support them.
“Don’t give them a hard time, but be there to help them to look after themselves a bit better.
“The more we can all do the better.”
Dr Glackin encouraged men to review their diet, exercise, smoking and drinking and to ensure they were receiving checkups to detect illnesses at an early stage.
“We do know that country people go and see their doctor later when they’ve got an illness or a condition,” he said.
“Sometimes that can have a real difference in terms of the outcome.”
Dr Glackin said the isolation of communities in and around Esperance posed a challenge for patients and medical professionals.
“Esperance Shire is a pretty big place and if you’re living on a farm or in one of the far flung communities it can be hard to get in to see your doctor,” he said.
“I think access to doctors has improved over the four and a half years that I’ve been in Esperance and that’s really good.
“But it’s certainly an issue in a lot of country WA that there just aren’t enough doctors and the doctors don’t have enough time.”
Dr Glackin said depression and suicide were high in country areas and for men across all age groups but there was increasing awareness.
“There are organisations like Black Dog who have done fantastic work in trying to encourage men on the mental health side of things to feel confident in talking to their mates, to other blokes and to healthcare professionals,” he said.