Health Promotion Program for Men

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Men's health and well being is one of the contemporary issues amongst health care providers. There is an increasing number of people involving general practitioners, nurses, community health workers, psychologists, social workers, men's focus groups and members of the general community who are questioning and attending to issues related to the health and well being of men. There is a growing concern of a well known fact that health outcomes of men are generally poorer than that of women, which is especially the case in industrialised countries (Smith, Mayer and Wittert, 2006). The reason being that men do not access health care services as frequently as women do (Gorski and McKelley, 2010), and the instances whereby they do seek health care services, it is when an illness has become very severe, or the associated pain of an illness has become unbearable, preventing them from performing their activities of daily living (The Royal College of General Practitioners [RACGP], 2006). There are a number of factors that have been identified that act as barriers for men in seeking health care services.

There have been several studies conducted to fathom men's perceptions and reluctance towards seeking and accessing health care services, and as a result, one of the major themes illuminated is the tendency of most of the male population to adopt and act on the traditional behavioural model of masculinity towards seeking and accessing health care services. This masculine behavioural model requires a man to be unemotional towards sickness and injuries sustained, as expression of emotions are believed to be a waste of time and a weakness, to consume alcohol excessively, smoke, use illegal drugs, be physically violent and engage in risky sexual activities, which are found to be acceptable and expected male behaviours in society, thereby increasing their vulnerability to the risk of adverse health outcomes (Gorski, and McKelley, 2010; Mahalik, Lagan, and Morrison, 2006; Mahalik and Hines, 2011).

The status of men's health and well being is believed to be under threat and this is evidenced by the 7
discrepancies in the mortality rates between men and women ( Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, 2010). According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2008) Australian males enjoy a life expectancy of 78.7 years in the years 2005-2007, which is the highest for males in the world, but inequalities in Australia itself remain, males still continue to have a shorter life expectancy than females who live up to 83.7 years in 2005-2007. Males are still dying prematurely of diseases that could have been treated and injuries that could have been prevented. Smith, Mayer and Wittert (2006) state that men tend to disregard symptoms of illnesses, which could have been cured if appropriate health care had been sought on time.

The aim of this paper therefore, is to discuss a health promotional program that has been developed specifically for the male population with the intention of empowering, educating and assisting males through their stages of change to gain control over their long term health outcomes by seeking and accessing preventative health care and/or support services when needed. According to the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (WHO, 1986), 'health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health.' The Victorian Government Department of Human Services (2007) describes health promotion as a very varied and frequently transforming field. It is not only a specific division of the health system but also a process by which a large number of population groups, individuals and communities can bring about modifications and aid in creating conditions that support good health and well being for everyone. So, underpinned by the themes defined by the World Health Organisation and the Department of Human Services, the health promotion program to be outlined aims to provide...
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