Office for Men’s Health & Well-being for the ACT
Community Alliance Party candidate for Murrumbidgee, Michael Lindfield said, “if he is elected he would lobby very hard to create an ACT Office for Men’s Health and Well-being located within ACT Health department to do among other things, give policy advice on addressing men’s health issues, analyse current data to look at ways to minimise premature death, injury, self harm, develop strategies to prevent certain cancer types and diseases; and raise its overall profile in the community.”
“Sadly over a very long period men’s health and wellbeing has generally been overlooked or neglected by policy makers and successive ACT governments.
Key findings released in January 2016 by the Australian Men’s Health Forum, the peak body promoting a social approach to male health and well-being has painted ablunt, confronting and alarming view of the state of men’s health and wellbeing. The Forum states: “despite three decades of adverse statistics, male health policy or rather the lack of it, continues to fail the Australian male
- Research continues to demonstrate a disproportionate gender differential in death and illness for males in Australia;
- The National Male Health Policy (NMHP) released in 2010 lacks endorsement, an action plan or adequate funding by the current Federal Government;
- No Australian State or Territory Government has a specific, active male health policy;
- Neither the Federal Government or any Australian State or Territory governments have administrative structures that cater specifically for the needs of men and boys. Conversely Offices for Women exist in every State and Territory and at the National level;
- Males have a shorter life expectancy, higher rates of death from most non-gender specific causes across all age groups and a higher lifetime risk of many cancers and chronic conditions;
- Standardised mortality rates indicate 23,000 excess male deaths per annum compared with women;
- The leading causes of male deaths in Australia are ischaemic heart disease, cancers, respiratory system disease, prostate and lymph system disease, cerebrovascular disease, suicide and endocrine disorders, which together account for about 60% of male deaths;
- Males account for 93% of all work-related fatalities;
- Males account for three quarters of completed suicides nationally;
- Those most at risk of premature death and illness include Indigenous males, males from rural and remote areas, those with blue collar backgrounds, males with mental illness, war veterans, gay, transgender and intersex people, males with disabilities, socially isolated and non-English speaking males;
- Key risk factors include socioeconomic disadvantage, social isolation, smoking, high blood pressure, overweight and obesity, low levels of physical activity, high cholesterol, alcohol and substance abuse, poor diet, risky health behaviour and occupational exposure to hazards;
- About half of males aged over 15 report health concerns, with the leading causes of years lost to disability being anxiety or depression, Type 2 diabetes, adult onset hearing loss, asthma and dementia;
- Almost two thirds of males have big gaps in their health knowledge;
- Mental illness over the life course affects just under half of the Australian male population, about 1 in 6 males reported experiencing a mental illness in the previous 12 months;
- About one third of males report reproductive and other sexual health issues;
- Sexually transmitted diseases are still common, particularly amongst Aboriginal males;
- Males experience 70% of work related injuries; and
- Government research funding for male health is about one quarter of that allocated for women’s health.”
“It is really a national disgrace that no state or territory government has a specific active health male policy and the statistics show that from a national perspective Australia has a men’s health and well-being crisis. Men are generally left behind in funding and real on-going and certainty in support, Michael Lindfield said.
“To highlight these issues in number crunching terms:
- The estimated number of new cancer cases diagnosed nationally in 2016 is 130,466 of which 72,048 will be males and 58,418 females.
- The estimated number of deaths from cancer nationally in 2016 will be 46,880 of which 26,566 will be males and 20,314 females.
- As an example, it is expected that prostate (among males) will be 18,138 or 25.2% of all new cancers in 2016, and will overtake breast cancer (among females), which is expected to be 15,934 or 27.3 % of all new cancers in 2016.
- In 2013, there were 44,108 deaths from cancer in Australia (24,972 males and 19,136 females). In 2016, it is estimated that this will increase to 46,880 deaths (26,566 males and 20,314 females).
Michael Lindfield said, “what I like to see is the ACT leading the nation in being the first jurisdiction to develop a positive and far reaching policy in tackling men’s health and well-being issues to be replicated by other jurisdictions. Lets put our intellectual capacity to work and achieve best practice outcomes. I expect the Office of Men’s Health and Well-being to be funded from with existing administrative resources.”
“I like to congratulate the Tuggeranong Hyperdome for being the first ACT major retail centre to have displayed in its male public toilets the following message:
“A small message like that puts things into perspective and acknowledgement that more needs to be done in men’s health and well-being.”
Background and reference points