SPEAK UP: Ipswich men are being encouraged to open up and talk about their health issues.
SPEAK UP: Ipswich men are being encouraged to open up and talk about their health issues. Thinkstock

It's time for men to talk about health

ALL men say we will do something about it but how many of us actually do?

And that's always been the problem with men: they never actually think anything will happen to them so they shrug it off until it's too late.

In more recent times men seem to be getting the message, albeit slowly, by talking to someone about their problems.

But why does it take more effort to get men talking when it comes to looking after themselves?

I'm involved with Swich On Inc, which was established in November 2011. For those that have not heard of us yet, we raise money and awareness for men's health initiatives. We also provide a forum for men to do exactly what I have just spoken about: talk.

Of course, we have a fair bit of fun along the way too, which isn't all talk, but I think you get the picture.

Since our inception we have managed to raise significant funds for many worthy charities, including prostate cancer, beyondblue and the White Cloud Foundation. But the main focus for us is awareness.

We can raise all the money in the world for these charities - and it certainly helps - but it all means very little if we don't get men talking or, at the very least, thinking about it.

But why do men struggle when it comes to talking about their problems? The Better Health Channel discusses a syndrome known as the macho men philosophy, in that "men in Western societies such as Australia are less inclined than women to take an active role in maintaining their health and seeking professional help for problems, particularly those of an emotional nature".

In other words, many men feel that masculinity dictates strength and silence, and that seeking help promotes a weakness of sorts. Swich On is breaking down these barriers and has already made significant inroads.

A number of our members have already taken advantage of the information and support of those who have taken the time to talk at our events, as well as the everyday guys who turn up (our members).

If our group can provoke a discussion that saves just one life, wouldn't that be worth it? We believe masculinity should be redefined here as the strength to make a forthright decision for the betterment of not only his life but for the family around him by stepping up and being the man by being around longer.

Depression, cancer or perhaps any life-changing event does not care if you are rich or poor, young or old, strong or weak. There is no discrimination on who it chooses, but we can make a difference by promoting, provoking and delivering change so that as men we can continue to play footy in the park with our children, watch our grandchildren make sand castles at the beach and generally die old and happy watching footy on the couch.

Please contact your local GP to get a check up or to have a chat.

You can also contact our group if you wish to get involved.

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