Overcoming Men’s Health Barriers

Mens Health Barriers

Maintaining and achieving good health is imperative for our physical and mental wellbeing. However, there are barriers that can get in the way of keeping our body and mind healthy, especially for men. Therefore, it is important to recognise what prevents or deters men from seeking help and support when it comes to their health.

Here, the Thrive Wellbeing Hub explores these barriers and shares simple but effective steps to keeping healthy both physically and mentally.

Knowledge & Awareness

Although men are not a homogenous group, there are similarities when it comes to awareness and knowledge of health issues compared to females.

Men are prone to engage in more unhealthy habits compared to females. Females have a higher life expectancy than males, males tend to have higher rates of obesity, a greater proportion of males smoke, and there is higher participation in binge drinking and drug use.

Poor lifestyles are responsible for a large proportion of chronic diseases. The four main causes of death among males in Ireland are cancer, circulatory system diseases, respiratory system diseases, and external causes of injury and poisoning.

It is suggested that men tend to be less informed about the risk factors, causation and symptoms of poor health and certain diseases. This lack of knowledge and awareness may prevent men from seeking help as they are simply unaware of the symptoms surrounding certain illnesses.

Therefore, it is important for us to educate ourselves on the signs and symptoms of poor health.


As outlined above, men tend to adopt unhealthier behaviours and are at greater risk for all leading causes of death. However, men are less likely to consult or visit a health professional compared to women and perception is a significant barrier to males engaging in health-seeking behaviours.

This is where the severity of a health concern is underestimated or brushed off as nothing serious. Late presentation to health services is a cause for concern and can lead to health issues worsening or becoming untreatable.

It’s important to take action as soon as you notice something isn’t quite right.


Gender roles and the construct of masculinity have been cited as a barrier to men looking after their health, especially when it comes to mental health.

These views associated with masculinity can result in men being more reluctant to speak out on mental health issues or engage in help-seeking behaviour for fear of being seen as weak or not embodying the traditional and frankly outdated attributes of what is considered masculine.

This stigma allows for men’s mental health needs to often fly under the radar. This is evident in the high suicide rates of males in Ireland. Of the 390 people who died by suicide in 2019, 300 of them were male.

Thankfully, this ideology is shifting, and men’s attitudes and awareness of mental health are changing. Being honest and open with yourself about how you are feeling and communicating this to loved ones or a mental health professional is so important.

Proactive Steps

Men and those who support them have an active role to play in encouraging and supporting men to take small steps to be proactive in both their physical and mental health. Let’s challenge ourselves to take action and incorporate small changes to help improve our overall health:

  • Eat well
  • Exercise and spend time outdoors
  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Know the signs of poor mental health, suicidal ideations, and other health conditions
  • Schedule a medical, arrange a blood test and engage in screening services and programmes
  • Talk and Listen – Confide in a loved one or someone impartial, ask if everything is okay, listen and help empower the men in our lives to take action

You can read the original article here.