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Men & Wellness

June 23, 2014

manwellness

As a prevention and early intervention program, each month our Vista Hill SmartCare teams promote and highlight the current month’s National health and wellness topics in our partnering clinics, local community libraries, Senior and Community Centers and within our Wellness Activities as a way to promote integrated behavioral health and to outreach to our community members.  As June is National Men’s Health Awareness Month, we wanted to be especially visible in our communities in a creative manner, without feeding into the stereotypes that men typically don’t seek out information about health and wellness until something is wrong.

Unfortunately, this stereotype exists because it is essentially still true; studies continue to show that men are more likely than women to procrastinate and lapse in their preventive care. They are more likely to ignore symptoms, and they are hospitalized more frequently with preventable illnesses.  And consequently, they die younger than women of those same preventable illnesses.

However, we have found in the past few years that men are receptive to our support and services if there is an issue or concern that may be getting in the way of their independence and/or quality of life.

*Someone who has recently lost his job may be quite receptive to education and support with resume writing and role-playing interview skills, and then more willing to address his underlying symptoms of depression that are interfering with his following through with seeking out new employment.

*A man recently diagnosed with diabetes may be willing to accept assistance with menu planning to adjust to new dietary requirements, and then may be more willing to look at adding physical activity and other life changes.

*And when we encourage a father to participate in parenting interventions with an acting out teenager,  he may be receptive to address his own underlying anger once he sees positive changes in his son.

Studies show that men in particular worry about such things as memory loss and loss of mobility.  Yet only 9-13% of men are actually screened for these issues.  We also know that tension and anxiety can also take a unique toll on the male mind and body, putting them at risk for early heart disease,  and a host of other health issues.  We assist our partnering clinics with screening all new patients, and all returning patients annually for high risk concerns of depression, anxiety and substance use.  And by asking about such issues as sleep patterns and appetite, our providers are more likely to dialog with their patients about other concerns.

When our partnering clinics promote the efforts of their providers to identify patients such as those who wish to quit smoking, or to lose weight, for example, our “warm hand-offs”, or referrals to SmartCare providers increase, specifically of male patients.   This provides a wonderful opportunity for us to develop plans of interventions with these patients for healthy life changes,  which may lead to addressing other health and behavioral health issues as well.

And so, as we move through the month of June, promoting National Men’s Health Awareness Month, and of course providing information on the importance of annual exams, blood pressure checks, colonoscopies, STD checks, heart health and others, we will especially promote the other key preventative measures of stress reduction,  mindfulness, yoga and other physical activity.

Pamela Sachs, LCSW

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 18, 2014 2:42 am

    hi I Thanks

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