Getting into the driver’s seat on our health

Empowering men to take responsibility for their wellbeing and health, is the core focus at The Regional Men’s Health Initiative.

We do this in light of the adverse statistics that represent men’s health in general, and the notion that for a large proportion of men developing their health knowledge is not seen as a priority.

This fits with men having a more functional view of their health, such as not seeking help until we are virtually physically impaired by the problem.

We often challenge men on these points but what does it really mean as a bloke to take responsibility for his own wellbeing and health?

As blokes we take responsibility and make a lot of informed decisions throughout our lives, on a variety of things such as family, work and social issues. Why then should decisions about our wellbeing and health be any different?

Too many blokes are running into trouble because we keep avoiding and putting off looking after our wellbeing and health. Just being a passive participant is not good enough, we need to be the one in the driver’s seat in all areas of our health be it physical, mental, or social/spiritual.

Taking responsibility for our wellbeing and health means becoming an active and informed healthcare consumer. It means scheduling regular service visits with our doctor and being aware of issues that affect us at certain stages of our lives, such as the potential for prostate problems as we get older.

We also need to consider issues that could be common in our families (hereditary) and discuss these with the doctor. It’s a bit of a generalisation but how many of us guys rely on our wives or partners for our health when it comes to our diet, including what food is in the house, and what we eat for dinner?

Remember that it’s not our wife’s, mate’s or doctor’s wellbeing and health, it’s ours. Good wellbeing and health can only happen if and when we as blokes take responsibility!

While taking charge is important it doesn’t mean we have to go it alone, we all need help sometimes.

From a community educator and support worker perspective, this often means our role involves walking beside someone helping to establish relevant pathways of support. It could also be simply listening to and validating people’s issues and accompanying emotions. We see it as, walking beside the ute with the window down, but not hopping in. It’s your ride, you are the one in the driver’s seat!

Our key message … before it at all gets too much… Talk to a Mate®!! requires us to take some responsibility in that it’s important we identify who our mates are, so that when the shit hits the fan (and it does happen) we have a plan in place to address things.