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Health Services Engagement
Do health services know how to work with men in health?
We've come a long way in developing a collective understanding of why healthy men are important. We've also come a long way in a collective understanding that men's health means more than faulty reproductive systems, bad behaviour or 'do more of this and less of that' messaging.
But men who do go looking for help through the health service can run into difficulties when there are services specifically for women but none for men. MHIRC advocates for a gendered approach to men's health because of the fundamental fact that men's health needs are different to women's.
Understanding ways to engage men in their health is a key challenge in male health in Australia. Finding approaches that encourage men to visit health services proactively and then being receptive to their needs is essential in improving male health status.
A 'gendered' approach simply refers to a need for consideration that the way men handle grief, stress and issues is different from the way that women handle those issues. Research shows that combining services to cater for both genders at the same time is not the right approach, and so to get the kinds of male health outcomes that society is looking for, male-specific services must be provided.
MHIRC's challenge is to advocate for consideration and delivery in men's health programs in the same way that a female-specific focus has worked so well for women.
Just as many female patients might object to having unfamiliar males present in health sessions, so the reverse applies.