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Men’s Health Week: What Is It and What Does It Mean?

June 05 2024 6 min read

40% of men in the UK won’t discuss their mental health with close friends, family or medical professionals — this is a seriously high number.  

With Men’s Health Week coming up, it’s never been more important for boys and men to share their mental and physical experiences to raise awareness. 

We’ll explore everything there is to know about Men’s Health Week 2024 and what it means with this guide.

What is Men’s Health Week 2024?

Men’s Health Week is dedicated to raising awareness about health issues commonly affecting boys and men. The aim is to give them access to information, services, and treatments so they can live healthy and fulfilling lives. 

Tim Andrews, Head of Fitness Product at Fitness First explains: “Men’s Health Week is a powerful platform that aims to empower men around the UK to take pride and prioritise their mental and physical wellbeing. We’re all guilty of not putting ourselves first or taking the proper time to check when something doesn’t feel right.”

Essentially, Men’s Health Week isn’t just about medical health; it also focuses on improving our mental well-being and fostering an open conversation about topics often considered taboo among men.

When is Men’s Health Week 2024?

This important week is observed every year in the week leading up to and including Father’s Day, which in 2024 falls from June 10th to the 16th. 

How did Men’s Health Week originate?

Men’s Health Week began in 1994 in the United States. It was introduced due to a bill aimed at increasing awareness of preventable health issues and encouraging early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This eventually gained traction and soon became an international event celebrated worldwide. 

The week is strategically anchored around Father’s Day to highlight just how important it is and appreciate the roles men play in our lives. 

Why is Men’s Health Week important?

Men, historically, tend to be a bit more reserved when it comes to discussing their health concerns and are much less likely to visit a doctor unless they feel very unwell. This can mean that many treatable conditions go unnoticed until they become a lot more serious. But Men’s Health Week aims to change that. 

This week serves as a reminder of how lifestyle choices can impact one's health. It promotes healthy living by encouraging activities like exercising, eating well, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol consumption

How does stress affect men’s health?

“Sometimes, things can get on top of us,” explains Tim. “Whether it’s a tough time at work, financial worries, or it just feels like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders, it’s easy to become stressed and overwhelmed.” 

“While it’s stereotypically traditional for men not to open up when it comes to their feelings and brush any problems under the carpet, the harsh reality is that stress has the potential to become something far more serious.”

According to information from Mental Health UK, 36% of all NHS referrals for psychological therapies are for men. Men are also much less likely to seek help for their mental health, a trend that can be associated with the stigmas around expressing vulnerability and the social expectations for men to adhere to a ‘tough’ persona. 

This reluctance to seek help can exacerbate mental health problems, leading to more severe health issues that are harder to treat at later stages. Alarmingly, 75% of deaths by suicide are males, and they’re three times more likely to die by suicide than women. This higher suicide rate among men may be linked to the tendency not to discuss or address their feelings and the cultural pressures that discourage emotional openness. 

How can we tackle the stigma around men’s mental health?

Tackling the stigma around men’s mental health is crucial for encouraging more men to feel comfortable in seeking help and discussing their struggles and feelings openly. 

Here are some effective ways we can help tackle that stigma globally:

  • Educational and awareness campaigns — Public education campaigns are so essential to change perceptions and raise awareness about men’s mental health. These campaigns can challenge common stereotypes and myths about masculinity and mental health, showing it’s normal for men to express emotions and seek help when needed. 

  • Role models and public figures — Encouraging men who are respected and admired within their communities to speak openly about their mental health struggles and recovery can have a powerful effect on changing attitudes.  When public figures or even our peers share their stories, it can break down barriers and show others that vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness.

  • Workplace initiatives — Employers can play a key role by implementing workplace mental health initiatives that include mental health training for managers and staff. It creates a safe space at work for men to discuss mental health without fear of judgement or professional repercussions and encourages more open conversations. 

  • Community support — Building community support groups where men can meet and talk about their mental health in a supportive and understanding environment can be very effective. These groups can help provide a sense of belonging and community, helping to reduce feelings of isolation.

  • Education in schools — Integrating mental health education into the school curriculum can help change future generations' perceptions of mental health. Teaching young boys about emotional intelligence, mental health, and the importance of discussing their feelings can normalise these conversations from a young age. 

Why is it important for men to physically exercise?

Physical exercise is crucial for everyone, but it has specific benefits for men that go beyond our general health and wellness. 

1. Enhanced cardiovascular health

Men face a notably higher risk of cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease (CHD), which is much more common in older men than older women

Even if it’s just 20 minutes a day, regular exercise helps mitigate this risk by improving heart efficiency, lowering blood pressure, reducing LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). 

During Men’s Health Week, it’s important to emphasise that getting our bodies moving, even if it’s just a small amount, is better than none at all. Our wide range of fitness classes are available to everyone, from beginners to seasoned pros. So, whether it’s an energising spin class, a morning HIIT session, glute gains or yoga, we’ve got it all. 

2. Weight control and metabolic health

Obesity is a significant health issue that can lead to conditions like type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases. Regular exercise helps regulate body weight and improves insulin sensitivity, reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Men’s Health Week focuses on promoting a healthy relationship with exercise, moving to make your body happy.

3. Mental health improvements

Physical activity is a powerful tool for managing stress, anxiety and depression — common issues that men are less likely to address. In fact, 29% of men in the UK say they’re “too embarrassed” to speak about their feelings.

By incorporating exercise into our daily routines, men can experience improvements in mood and a reduction in symptoms exasperated by depression and anxiety. 

Men’s Health Week provides a platform to educate men about the benefits of exercise, challenging the stigma around health issues. 

Get set with Fitness First

We know it might not seem the easiest to step into a gym and pick up a dumbbell or head to a class. But it’s so important, both physically and mentally, that you do this for yourself.

Discover more about all things fitness and nutrition today with our Inside Track Blog, or why not book your first class today? Find a gym near you now, whether you’re looking for a gym in London or further afield!