Improving Men’s Health Through Technology should be one of the top topics discussed at the 3 day City Camp event in Brighton & Hove this weekend.
You can find out how to vote for Men’s Health by clicking here now to help Men’s Health come first in an online poll and read on to find out how technology could improve men’s health
Our City is committed to improving health, care and well-being for everyone living and working in the city and for generations to come, by improving the conditions which influence our health, and by promoting healthy lifestyles, treating illnesses, providing care and support and reducing inequalities in health.
There is no doubt that men and boys in our face major health inequalities in terms of both access to and outcomes from local health services. Boys born in deprived areas of the city will die 13 years sooner than girls born in wealthy wards and the funding invested into women’s projects is 13 hundred times higher than men’s projects (2008 figures).
SOME KEY PROBLEMS
- Men are less likely to access health services for a variety of reasons which include location (eg not near work), availability (eg only open in office hours) and focus (eg services are rarely targeted men specifically and often seen as female focused)
- Physical Health – 100,000 die prematurely every year and as many as 30% of those deaths could be avoided I more men took more regular exercise according to the Men’s Health Forum
- Mental Health: men are half as likely to get their depression diagnosed and three times as likely to commit suicide
- Sex Health: men are less likely to access screening programmes (eg Chlaydia tests) and men who are raped and sexually abused are less likely to report the incident
- Disease: men are more likely to live with undiagnosed illnesses – being twice as likely to have undiagnosed diabetes for example according to the British Heart Foundation
- Cancer – Men are 60% more likely to get non-sex specific cancers and 70% more likely to die of those cancers
- Drink and Drugs: Brighton is the UK’s drug death capital with one death a week (80% are men), it Is 2nd highest local authority for alcohol related deaths in men a figure that has doubled over the last 15 years and male mortality from chronic liver disease including cirrhosis now double the England average
- Young men are particularly vulnerable with teenage boys and young men age 15-24 in England & Wales are two and a half times as likely to die young than women and girls of the same age according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundations Poverty Site.
- Older Men are largely ignored in services for older people according to Age Concern) and divorced and never married men more susceptible to social isolation, poor health, risk behaviours and material disadvantage
- Other equalities groups such as men on low incomes, homeless men, prisoners, BME groups and gay, transgender and bisexual men can all face additional health inequalities
SOME POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS
Initiatives around men’s health tend to focus on increasing awareness and while this is important it doesn’t necessarily make a difference. A male skin cancer campaign by Cancer Research UK, for example, was a great success in terms of increasing awareness but created no change in behaviour in terms of preventative action or presentation for diagnosis.
With this in mind, solutions to improve men’s health should not only be about increasing awareness they should also seek to:
- Be male specific and appropriate to men in tone and language
- Make it easier for men to access services – as both location and opening hours of services are a barrier
- Support changes in lifestyle behaviours – exercise, diet, drink, drugs etc
- Support general culture change in services to become more male-friendly
- Recognize that our social connections can have both a positive and negative impact on our health behaviours
SOME THOUGHTS FROM THE MEN’S HEALTH FORUM
The theme of Men’s Health Week 2011 (June 13th – 19th) – which is promoted by the Men’s Health Forum – is improving male health through technology. According to The Men’s Health Forum 37% of men used the internet for health information in 2009, up from 31% in 2008. The charity hopes that Men’s Health Week 2011 will encourage wider use of technology to develop health services, information and products that engage men so they take action to improve their health.
SOME IDEAS ALREADY OUT THERE
- BT has developed a pioneering intranet-based lifestyle change programme for its staff that attracted over 16,000 users, most of whom were men
- Pfizer has set up a website called Man Mot, an online surgery where men can talk anonymously to a GP open one evening a week
- Many men who have not been physically active have been motivated by participative home video games such as Nintendo Wii
- During the 2010 World Cup, NHS Choices worked with MHF to develop male-specific tools and content using a football theme; and in partnership with MHF
- During Men’s Health Week 2011 the Men’s Health Forum is launching a new smartphone app using humour to raise men’s health awareness and an e-card for people to send a health message to men they care about
HOW CITY CAMP WORKS
All ideas listed in the online poll – click here to browse and vote – will be put to the group to see if people are up for taking them further and turning them into real projects.
People who haven’t already submitted an idea will also have the opportunity to write one down, to make sure everyone gets the chance to put something forward
The organizers will start off by asking everybody to come forward and explain their idea to the group
As people who have submitted ideas ahead of the event, they’ll get the first opportunity to explain these ideas
The most popular ideas will be assigned a time and breakout space for everyone who’s interested to get together and turn it into a technological solution that people can build on Sunday.
‘Build’ can mean anything: a website prototype, mobile application or just a quick presentation that’s enough to be the start of a fully fledged project.