On average, men globally die 5 years earlier than women.
Men also account for a whopping 69% of suicides.
When you look at these facts, you realise how important it is to take care of one’s physical and mental health. Recently, OZiva conducted a comprehensive nationwide survey to evaluate the perception of men and women towards men’s health in the country. The survey left us with some startling insights.
Key observations from men’s responses:
- 79% of men are highly concerned about physical health however have limited understanding of what ‘being healthy’ means with most of them considering feeling fit as being healthy
- 60% of men have never thought about mental health. And 40% of women admit that they feel men are less likely to feel emotionally weak, stressed etc.
- 27% of men have felt embarrassed or have been judged for openly speaking about mental and physical health. 38% of women admit to judging men for displaying their emotions like crying.
- 33% of men have never spoken about mental health to anyone.
The root cause behind these results, we realised, was the societal expectations of men. They are often told to not talk about what’s troubling them and to just ‘Be a man!’ and face it. Phrases like, “Real men don’t cry”, “Come on, just man up. What’s the big deal?” and more have conditioned men over generations to think that they always need to be mentally and physically strong. They cannot be seen as weak or their manliness will be questioned.
And this has resulted in them not taking proper care of their health. They think they are ‘fit and fine’ and working out is enough but would rather not take health check-ups. They won’t admit that they are sad or lonely, even if it’s affecting their work and relationships. They feel embarrassed to openly talk about their emotions and feelings. All of these important insights prompted us to start an honest conversation around men’s health — physical and mental.
Show Us Your Scars
Every scar, whether visible or invisible tells a story. We met with a few men and asked them to tell the story behind their scars. Surprisingly, each one of them only spoke about their visible scars caused by different physical injuries. They eagerly told the story behind them, some were even proud of it.
But when we asked these men about their invisible scars, the beat of the conversation changed. They were hesitant to share those stories. That feeling of vulnerability was difficult to express. After a few moments of hesitation for some and even stifling a few tears for some others, they were finally able to share what had been hurting them from within. These scars were still hurting, they had not yet healed.
And that is the point of starting this conversation, to heal these scars from within, slowly but surely. We wanted to tell men that only when they free themselves from society’s expectations of ‘Be A Man’ and embrace the real, authentic versions of themselves, they can truly be healthier and better. We want to tell men that the key is to #BeYourOwnMan and decide for themselves irrespective of what they’ve been taught and carve their own version of themselves and what being a ‘man’ means. Whether it’s going for regular health checkups or communicating one’s emotions. From setting healthy boundaries to asking for help when needed. We want to tell all of them, that go ahead and #BeYourOwnMan.
What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments, we’re listening.