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Three generations of men out together

Let’s talk about men’s health

by Laura Johnston

During Men’s Health Week, from 10 to 16 June, Knowsley Council is helping to raise awareness of the health issues which impact men and encouraging men to seek help to address any health concerns that they may be experiencing.

The Men’s Health Forum organises Men’s Health Week and the focus this year is ‘Let’s talk prostates’. The charity has taken a lead from King Charles who, earlier this year, shared that he had a problem with an enlarged prostate. On the day after his announcement, there were 16,410 visits to the NHS prostate problems webpage compared with 1,414 visits the previous day. Prostate Cancer UK saw an almost doubling in the number of users of its online risk checker. This goes to show the difference that honest sharing can make.

Men’s cancers

In the UK, about 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The three main risk factors for getting prostate cancer are getting older (it mainly affects men aged 50 or over), having a family history of prostate cancer and being black.

If you have any of the risk factors, or have concerns, speak to your GP. They can talk to you about your risk, and about the tests that are used to diagnose prostate cancer.

Most men with early prostate cancer don’t have any signs or symptoms. If you do notice changes in the way you urinate, this is more likely to be a sign of a very common non-cancerous problem called an enlarged prostate, or another health problem. But it’s still a good idea to get it checked out.

Testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in young men. It is a highly treatable cancer if diagnosed and treated early.

Regular checks can help detect any early changes – changes in shape, or size, or a lump that wasn’t there before – and if something doesn’t seem right make an appointment to speak to your GP.


Mental health support

One in 8 men have a common mental health problem such as anxiety, stress, or depression. Left unchecked these issues can worsen, however, there’s lots of information, advice and support available to help men look after their mental health and wellbeing.

Better Health Every Mind Matters has expert advice and practical tips from the NHS to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing. At its heart is the free, personalised mental health action plan providing practical tips to help you deal with stress and anxiety, boost your mood, sleep better and feel more in control.

You can also join an email support programme where you can get reminders, receive new tips and are encouraged to make looking after your mental wellbeing part of your everyday routine.

Sadly, suicide is the single most common cause of death in men under 45 and the rate of suicide is highest in middle aged men.

Stay Alive, the suicide prevention app, is designed to help both those who are having suicidal thoughts and those who are concerned about someone else.

It has several features including a safety plan and LifeBox where people can upload images or videos that remind them of their reasons to stay alive. The app also directs people to local help and gives people the tools to start a conversation about mental health and suicide.

The Stay Alive app is available free on iOS and Android devices.

Samaritans is a safe place to talk 24 hours a day about whatever is troubling you. Call 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website.

If you are in mental health crisis and no longer feel able to cope or be in control of your situation and need urgent help, you can call the NHS Mental Health crisis line. NHS staff will then support you to get the help you need. Available for people of all ages, including children and young people, available 24/7. Call freephone 0800 051 1508.

The services below can offer support to help look after your mental health or if you are concerned about someone you know.

  • Shout – offers confidential text messaging support The service is staffed by trained volunteers who will work with you to take your next steps towards feeling better. They can help with issues such as stress, anxiety and depression and are able to talk via text 24 hours a day. Simply text the word “REACH” to 85258. Find out more giveusashout.org/
  • Talking Therapies – free NHS therapy for people with common mental health problems such as anxiety or depression, to help you change the way you feel by changing the way you think.  Online therapy accessible 24 hours a day, with weekly online support from a therapist or attend a six-week skills for wellbeing course. One-to-one therapy also available for those who need extra support. Find out more search online for Talking Therapies (Think Wellbeing) : Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Listening Ear – provides face to face counselling support for people of all ages including children and young people.Call 0151 488 6648.  Find out more https://listening-ear.co.uk
  • Silver Line – for those aged 55 and over is a helpline which provides friendship, conversation and support. Free to call 24 hours a day on 0800 470 8090 from a mobile or landline. Find out more thesilverline.org.uk/
  • AMPARO – support for anyone affected by suicide. Call 0330 088 9255 or find out more amparo.org.uk/
  • Hub of Help – mental health support database sharing information about local and national support. Find out more hubofhope.co.uk