Microscope on men's health

MEN'S health is now firmly on the radar and Grafton was hoisted into the spotlight on Wednesday when a national men's health forum came to town.

At least 50 men - and a few women - attended the forum which was held to gather feedback for the Federal Government's forthcoming National Men's Health Policy.

Grafton had the privileged position of being one of only a few places outside the nation's capital cities to host the forums - and what's more, the Grafton forum had more attendees than forums held in Canberra and Hobart.

Attending the forum were doctors, psychologists, health workers, men's health advocates and men living with cancer.

A special guest at the forum was Professor John Macdonald, a men's health expert and one of the Federal Government's men's health ambassadors.

Professor Macdonald spoke passionately about men's health issues and said the policy needed to validate men and provide the necessary structures and funding for it to be a success.

“We need to retrain all health professionals to be men-friendly,” Professor Macdonald said.

“We need to change the way we feel about men. Let's stop blaming men for men's health lagging behind and, instead, value their contribution to society. Being validated keeps us alive.”

Member for Page Janelle Saffin lobbied hard to have the forum held in Grafton to ensure the views of local men would be included in the development of Australia's first National Men's Health Policy.

“I requested a Men's Health Forum for Page because I have been lobbied on men's health issues by some active grassroots services,” she said.

“It's a fact that Australian men don't use health services as much as women do, often seek treatment at a later stage than women, and have a lower life expectancy.

“The national policy will identify areas for urgent attention such as preventable cancers, suicide prevention and mental health, sexual and reproductive health, violence, accident prevention, alcohol abuse and illicit drug use.”

Further information available online at www.health.gov.au/menshealthpolicy.

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