The federal government says Men’s Health Week is the right time to focus on raising awareness of the preventable health problems facing Australian men.
As part of this year’s theme ‘Connecting for Men’s Health’, Healthy Male, a national men’s health information organisation, is reminding men to seek help early is vital for supporting and maintaining good health and wellbeing.
"Your team can include friends, family, work colleagues, community groups and health professionals, and this connection has never been more important during the COVID-19 pandemic," said health minister Greg Hunt in a joint statement with ministerial colleagues Mark Coulton and David Coleman.
"It is particularly important to stay connected with health services and online health information because we know that men are less likely to seek medical advice," they said.
Minister Hunt said one of the health issues exclusive to men is prostate cancer. It is currently the fourth most common cause of cancer death in Australian men.
“This is an ongoing focus for our Government, and I am pleased to announce that fifteen new prostate care nurses will be will be employed in health services or cancer centres across Australia in 2021-22, as part of Prostate Cancer Nurses Program,” he said.
“The $23 million program, which we announced in the 2019-2020 Budget, was established to support existing prostate cancer nurses and fund positions in more than 40 new locations.
“There will now be a total of 72 (54.5 fulltime equivalent) Commonwealth-funded PCNs across Australia, to provide vital care and information to men and their families affected by prostate cancer.”
The ministers said men can also access support through the 1,000 strong network of Men’s Sheds across Australia.
“Men’s Sheds provide a safe and friendly environment for men to gather and or work on meaningful projects, with the ultimate aim of improving the health and wellbeing of their members,” said regional health minister Mark Coulton.
“I am also pleased to announce that work will soon begin on the $1.5 million Regional Coordinators for Men’s Sheds Initiative, which helps Men’s Sheds to connect with local health services and promote health events for their members.”
Assistant minister to the prime minister for mental health and suicide prevention, David Coleman, said the government also currently funds a range of activities that specifically target Australian men who may be at high risk of suicide.
“Through the National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program, which received a further $61.6 million in the Budget, we’re funding programs like acMATES In Construction and The OzHelp Foundation, to raise awareness, reduce stigma and provide support to men across workplaces in Australia,” he said.