Athy CDP, now under the County Kildare Leader Partnership Programme, held a Men’s Health Day last Friday, June 17, which was launched by Leinster’s very own Sean O’Brien.
Irish men die, on average, about five years younger than women do; males have higher death rates than women for all of the leading causes of death, in particular suicide; poor lifestyles are responsible for a high proportion of chronic diseases; and late presentation to health services leads to a large number of problems becoming untreatable.
Noreen Ardill, co-ordinator Athy CDP, has observed that men are more reluctant to go to their GP, talk in groups or to eachother about health issues.
“They don’t go to doctor unlesss they really have to. They get their wife or daughter to get them something in chemist on their behalf or they leave it to last minute to get themselves checked. Early detection in all things is vital,” said Ms Ardill.
Athy CDP runs an Engaging Men’s programme, which discusses a variety of issues including health and entitlements. They also undergo field trips, painting and personal development activities.
“Our main focus is to get men in long-term unemployment, men in new communities, isolated men, older men,” said Mrs Ardill. “It’s hard for men to engage in things like this. There is a great social aspect to the men’s group here. It’s education, fun and reduces isolation.”
Throughout the day Mental Health Ireland’s Michael Cummins, weight-loss specialist Dr Michael Sharkey and local shop Healthy Living were on had to give advice. In addition, there were free BMI and blood testing, stress management and relaxation tips, and training on social networking.