National Men’s Health Month
By: Andre Amaro
As a male and someone who came from a family background that held true to typical gender role stereotypes, a mindset that was always pushed on me by the other men in my family was to always “tough it out”. This meant I always had to tough it out when it came to issues surrounding my physical and mental health. This mindset of not allowing myself to become vulnerable, or even allowing myself to reach out to others for help was damaging towards my overall well-being as a person. It took a lot of time and experience to drift away from this sort of thinking and looking back; I had always wished that I had someone in my life tell me sooner that it was okay to take better care of myself and reach out to others for whenever I needed help. Now that I managed to change this negative mindset in myself, I always try my best to take care better care of myself and I am always looking for new ways to improve on my health. Not too long ago, I made adjustments to see my primary doctor regularly, and when situations in my personal life have gotten tough, I now have always reached out to others for help and have even gone through my own counseling sessions in the past. So why am I sharing all this personal information with everyone? The reason is because I want to show other men that it is okay to focus on your health and that it is okay to focus on new finding ways to take better care of yourselves. Additionally, I also want to show other men that it is okay to become vulnerable at times and reach out to others for whenever you need help. The month of June is here and that means it is National Men’s Health Month, which is a great time for all men to make positive changes in their lives so that they can prevent health related issues down the line and live healthier lives.
Since men are less likely to reach out for help or go to the doctor’s office regularly, we see the occurrences of many health-related issues in men. Some of these issues are physical related injuries, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, libido problems, prostate and testicular cancer, and various other diseases that could have possibly been prevented with regular doctor check-ups and minor lifestyle changes. Additionally, many men suffer from many mental health related disorders such as depression, anxiety, and substance use because they are having trouble managing their issues on their own and refuse to reach out to others for help. Men typically tend to avoid staying up to date on their vaccinations and refuse to take medications as well. Now, it is known that women typically live longer than men, and the difference is by an average of 5 years. So why does this seem to be the case? This is most likely because women are more than likely than men to focus on taking better care of themselves, and actually make more time to go the doctor’s offices regularly or see doctors for whenever they are feeling sick.
Not all men struggle with taking better care of themselves, as there are some men out there who really do focus on taking care of their health. This post is not meant to “call out” all my fellow male counterparts, but more help push awareness and encourage more men to make healthier changes in their lives, so that we can all live healthier and stronger lives together. My recommended changes for all men to make are simply to make an appointment with your primary doctor and do a regular check-up if you have not already, to see where you stand when it comes to your physical health. Ask your doctor if there are any issues or concerns about your health, what are some next steps for you to take, and if he or she recommends any medications, make sure to ask about them first and if you do decide to take them; make sure to use them as directed too. In addition, ask to see if you are up to date on any vaccinations or if any of them are recommended for you depending on your age. Next, if you feel you are struggling with your mental health, or even just struggling with managing the current stress levels in your life; make an appointment to see a therapist to assist you with navigating these issues. If you are a male who still struggles with the concept of receiving counseling services for yourself, take some time to do some research and make a phone call to ask questions about the counseling process, so that you will feel more comfortable about receiving counseling. Lastly, make sure to eat healthier and create a well-balanced diet for yourself, and exercise regularly if you do not already. Some of these changes may be simple, but they can go a long way and prevent many health-related issues down the line. It is understandable for us men, that we sometimes tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves because we have to take care of our families and we have many responsibilities to manage at the same time as well; however, take some of that pressure off and listen to your body and mind, and focus on finding ways to feel better about yourself so that you can live a healthier and longer life. I hope my I was able to reach out to some men out there and lets all focus on making better choices for ourselves, starting this month of June and moving forward. If you are a man who is struggling with making healthier choices for yourself, please reach out and schedule an appointment with me here at Inner Courage Counseling, so that I can help you! Thank you everyone for taking the time to read my post, have a happy month of June and spread awareness about National Men’s Health Month to all the special men you love and care about in your lives!