International Men's Health Week (MHW) always begins on the Monday before Father's Day and ends on Father's Day itself.Â During 2022, it ran from Monday 13th until Sunday 19th June.
It is celebrated in many European countries, as well as in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and a number of other places worldwide.Â The overall aims of MHW are to:
- Heighten awareness of preventable health problems for males of all ages.
- Support men and boys to engage in healthier lifestyle choices / activities.
- Encourage the early detection and treatment of health difficulties in males.
But why is there a need to hold a Men's Health Week? ...Â Males constitute almost 50% of the population on the island of Ireland and, therefore, deserve to have a gender lens focused upon their specific health needs.Â Research clearly hows that these men experience a disproportionate burden of ill-health and die too young ...
- Local men die younger than women do.
- Males have higher death rates than females for almost all of the leading causes of death and at all ages.
- Menâ€™s poorer lifestyles are responsible for a high proportion of chronic diseases.
- Late presentation to health services can lead to a large number of problems becoming untreatable ...
Indeed, while many of these conditions are preventable, their prevalence amongst men may, in fact, rise in the future.Â
Men's Health Week 2022 took place in the context of an easing of the restrictions introduced to combat the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic.Â Worldwide, this virus has had a major and disproportionate impact upon men's health, as well as their wider lives.
For a couple of years now, COVID placed a myriad of boundaries upon what we were able to do.Â MHW 2022 sought to reverse this trend, and focused upon what we can do to take back control of our own health.
During 2022, the theme for Ireland was 'MISSION: isPOSSIBLE' and the call to men (and those who support the health of men) was: 'The Action Starts with You'.
All too often we set ourselves unrealistic or impractical targets.Â This year, everyone was asked to make new choices and to realise that where thereâ€™s a will, thereâ€™s a way.
The celebration of Men's Health Week on the island of Ireland in 2022 was funded by the Health Service Executive Health and Wellbeing, Healthy Ireland within the Department of Health and the Public Health Agency.Â Â
Menâ€™s health on the island of Ireland is unnecessarily poor, but it is not a lost cause.Â There are many free, simple and practical things that can be done to improve it.Â But what are these?
To support Menâ€™s Health Week 2022, a team of students (Evan Rawl, Hang Thai, Ewa Leszczewicz, Ben Oâ€™Quigley, Darragh Smith and Evan Williams) from the Game Design Degree Course in Technological University Dublin developed a â€˜Serious Gameâ€™ - focusing on male health - that men and boys can play online.
In this retro-style arcade game, the player is invited to take on the character of â€˜Agent Mannâ€™ - a spy who is given the mission of tracking down and securing a series of dossiers containing high level â€˜Intelâ€™ on how to improve menâ€™s health.Â This is his MISSION: isPOSSIBLE.
To succeed in his quest, Agent Mann has to navigate through various settings to locate and collect all of the dossiers.Â Along the way, he has to learn how to move around in his environment and to use some of the gadgets available to him.Â But of course, danger is never far away, and his path is blocked by the henchmen of his nemesis [Mr Oâ€™Bese] who try to prevent him from uncovering this vital information.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to â€¦
1. Take on the role of Agent Mann.
2. Find and secure all of the seven dossiers.
3. Memorise whatâ€™s in them.
4. Use this information to improve the health of men both now and in the future.
The action starts with you!
NB: This game is best played on a desktop or laptop computer.Â Most mobile phones cannot run it.Â As it was developed within a very short time-scale, there are also some small glitches.Â Simply ignore these and play away!Â
Would you like to HEAR about Men's Health Week 2022 (the why, when, who, where and what), rather than have to READ about it? ...Â If so, click on the play button below to listen to Lorcan Brennan (Men's Development Network) speaking to Colin Fowler (Men's Health Forum in Ireland) about the week:
Why focus upon 'MISSION: isPOSSIBLE'?
Not too long ago, we were unaware of the full extent of menâ€™s poor health status and the specific health issues that they must deal with.Â However, this is no longer the case.Â In recent years, a broad range of research has highlighted the health challenges which face men in Ireland and further afield.Â For example ...
Menâ€™s Health in Numbers: Trends Report (PDF, 10.7MB)
Irish Men's Health Report Card (PDF, 1.7MB)
Northern Ireland Men's Health Report Card (PDF, 1.9MB)
Getting Inside Menâ€™s HealthÂ (PDF, 1.5MB)
A Report on the all-Ireland Young Men and Suicide ProjectÂ (PDF, 2.73MB)
The State of Menâ€™s Health in Europe (PDF, 3.63MB)
Middle-Aged Men and Suicide in Ireland (PDF, 4.49MB) ...
Although the health of men in Ireland is poor, it can be improved in many significant ways.Â A wide range of innovative and positive work has already taken place to support the health needs of men and boys: Ireland was the first country in the world to have a National Menâ€™s Health Policy which was succeeded by the Healthy Ireland - Men Action Plan (itself, currently being reviewed and updated); the â€˜Engageâ€™ Menâ€™s Health Training Programme has influenced how services and structures support males; pioneering approaches have been developed and tested which provide models for improving menâ€™s health; new menâ€™s health / support groups are evolving across the island of Ireland ...Â Much has been achieved, but there is still room for improvement.
Of course, men, themselves, need to play a central role in taking control of their health and wellbeing.Â But menâ€™s health is not just an issue for individual men.Â While it is crucial for men to take responsibility for looking after themselves, their health can often be determined by other factors outside of their personal control.Â Thus, there is also a need for policy-makers, service providers, and society as a whole to recognise the role that they need to play, and to do something practical about it.Â This will require everyone to focus attention upon the men and boys around us.
During 2020 and 2021, the island of Ireland battled with the global COVID-19 pandemic.Â This had a major impact upon males worldwide.Â Indeed, while there was a broadly similar incidence and prevalence to women, men:
- - were faster at developing serious illness;
- - recovered slower from the virus;
- - had a higher death rate.
But, there was also a broad range of mental health and social impacts upon men and their wider communities which were a cause for concern.
The legacy of COVID upon the health and wellbeing of men and boys is still being felt.Â However, now is the time to take back control of our own health.Â This is why the theme chosen for Men's Health Week 2022 was 'MISSION: isPOSSIBLE' and the message to everyone was 'the action starts with you'.
Who can be involved in this week?
Men's Health Week (MHW) gives everyone (health professionals, service providers, youth groups, sporting bodies, community organisations, employers, Churches, policy makers, family workers, pharmacists, academics, the media, parents, individuals ...) an opportunity to encourage men and boys to take better care of their health and to seek help or treatment at an early stage.
Planning Group for Men's Health Week 2022
Men's Health Week (MHW) 2022 in Ireland was planned by a broad range of partners who contributed to an inter-agency all-island Planning Group.Â This body began meeting in December 2021, and had ongoing communication ever since.
The theme for this yearâ€™s MHW (i.e.Â 'MISSION: isPOSSIBLE') offered an opportunity for a very wide range of agencies to participate (via video conferencing and electronic communication), and the planning process drew upon the insight, expertise, support and contacts of individuals from ...
- Action Cancer
- Alcohol Action Ireland
- Alientated Children First
- ARK (Queen's University Belfast and University of Ulster)
- Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council
- Arthritis Ireland
- Aware NI
- Beechmount Sure Start
- Belfast City Council - Health Development Unit
- Belfast Health & Social Care Trust
- Belfast Men's Health Group
- BHSCT Carers Support
- Bowel Cancer UK
- Cancer Focus Northern Ireland
- Carers Support Service, SEHSCT
- CIE - Staff Health Promotion
- Clanrye Group
- Community Sports Network
- County Down Rural Community Network
- County Roscommon Traveller Health Project
- Cruse Bereavement Care NI
- Donegal Education and Training Board
- Dr Mark Rowe
- Dublin City University School of Nursing
- Dublin Fire Brigade
- Dudes and Dogs
- Education Authority for Northern Ireland
- Exchange House
- Family Mediation NI
- Focus: The Identity Trust
- Football Association of Ireland (FAI)
- Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA)
- Gay Project
- Get Ireland Walking
- Green Ribbon Campaign
- HeadsUp Kildare
- Health Service Executive - Health and Wellbeing
- Home-Start NI
- HSE National Cancer Control Programme
- INFANT Centre - University College Cork
- Institute of Public Health in Ireland
- Institute of Technology Carlow
- Irish Cancer Society
- Irish Football Association (IFA)
- Irish Heart Foundation
- Irish Menâ€™s Sheds Association
- Irish Pharmacy Union
- Irish Rail
- Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU)
- Jumpers for Goalposts
- Letterkenny Youth and Family Service
- Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council
- Loughrea Training Centre
- Macmillan Cancer Support
- Marie Keating Foundation
- Menâ€™s Action Network (MAN)
- Men's Aid Ireland
- Men's Alliance NI
- Menâ€™s Development Network (MDN)
- Men's Health Forum in Ireland (MHFI)
- Men's Health West
- Mental Health Ireland
- Mid-Ulster Council
- Migraine Association of Ireland
- National Centre for Men's Health
- National Screening Service
- National Youth Council of Ireland
- Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
- North Belfast Men's Shed
- North Down Community Network
- Northern Health and Social Care Trust
- Northern Ireland Chest, Heart & Stroke
- NUI Galway School of Nursing and Midwifery
- Parenting NI
- parkrun Ireland
- Patient Client Council
- Pavee Point Traveller Menâ€™s Health
- Queen's University Belfast School of Nursing and Midwifery
- Samaritans Ireland
- See Change
- Shankill Sure Start
- Shoot Positive - Carrie Davenport Photography
- SISK Building Contractors
- South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust
- Southern Area Men's Health Group
- Southern Health & Social Care Trust
- South West College
- Sport Ireland
- Start 360
- Sure Start South Armagh
- Technological University Dublin
- The Respect Project
- Toghermore Training Centre
- Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI)
- Union of Students in Ireland
- University College Cork
- University College Dublin
- Waterford Sports Partnership
- Western Health & Social Care Trust
- WHSCT Recovery College
- YouthAction NI - Work with Young Men Unit
- Plus an additional range of individual counsellors, therapists and activists ...
To promote Men's Health Week (MHW) 2022, a bespoke poster was designed.
Posters were available as both A3 and A4 hard copies, and as online electronic files (in a range of sizes and formats suitable for a variety of uses).
- -Â which size you need (i.e. A3 or A4);
- -Â the number of copies you would like;
- - your name, plus the organisation / address / post code or Eircode of where you'd like them delivered to.
Every year since 2014, there has been a Men's Health Week (MHW) postcard to publicise the week.Â Traditionally, these cards can be displayedÂ as small flyers in public spaces, and are often sent by organisations to the men that they have contact with.Â Â This has proved to be a very successful means of letting local men know about the week.
Some groups have also used them as 'pledge cards' (e.g. this year men could write on the card what the 'mission' to improve their health was going to be).Â Later on, they could keep this beside their desk, on their work bench, attached to their dashboard etc. to remind them of what they want to do and hope to achieve.
The front of the postcard had a similar design to the MHW poster, and the back had a pre-written message which said:
I don't know about you, but I reckon that the 'MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE' TV series / films are among the best viewing of all time.Â They offer many things that appeal to males - suspense, intrigue, courage, daring, incredible feats, heroism, fast-paced action ... and, in the end, good always triumphs over evil!
But did you know that during Men's Health Week 2022, men and boys on the island of Ireland are also being asked to take on the role of Ethan Hunt (or Jim Phelps if you remember the TV series) and to step up and become an action hero in their own life?
All you have to do is set yourself a realistic and practical task to improve your health and go for it.Â That's 'your mission, should you choose to accept it'.
So, if you're up for it, find out more at: https://www.mhfi.org/mhw/mhw-2022.html
This year, the postcards were available in both hard copy and as online electronic files.Â For the electronic download version, see: www.mhfi.org/mhw/mhw-image-pack.html#Postcard2022
To order free hard copies, people were invited to send an email to the Men's Health Forum in Ireland stating:
- -Â the number of copies they would like;
- -Â their name, plus the organisation / address / post code or Eircode of where they'd like them delivered to.
One of the key aims for Men's Health Week (MHW) each year is to let as many people as possible know when it is happening.Â To do this, there needs to be a common set of promotional tools.Â These were made available for free downloading at: www.mhfi.org/mhw/mhw-image-pack.html
This page offered generic MHW images, new resources created specifically for MHW 2022, as well as the ones used in previous years.Â There was a ...
These came in a range of sizes and formats, and groups and individuals were invited to use any or all of these images to promote MHW in any way they can.
Research clearly shows that there are many challenges to be faced when seeking to improve menâ€™s health.Â However, it also highlights that menâ€™s health can be improved in many significant ways - if the right choices are made.Â Men, themselves, have a key role to play in this process.
One of the most successful and sought after elements of previous Menâ€™s Health Weeks has been the â€˜Challenges and Choicesâ€™ Man Manual, which is distributed free-of-charge to males throughout the whole island of Ireland.
The â€˜Challenges and Choicesâ€™ booklet is a male-friendly, 32 page publication, which highlights ten key menâ€™s health issues i.e. alcohol, food, physical activity, smoking, stress, blood pressure, sexually transmitted diseases, skin cancers, back care and help-seeking behaviour.Â It was written by leading menâ€™s health expert Dr Ian Banks (internationally acclaimed menâ€™s health author, ex-President of the European Menâ€™s Health Forum, the British Medical Associationâ€™s Spokesperson on Menâ€™s Health, and a resident of Northern Ireland).
This Manual: issues a realistic and practical challenge to improve the readerâ€™s health in each area of concern; provides a reason for why it is important to consider taking action in relation to each issue; offers three possible choices for actions that can be taken to combat each condition; signposts the reader to local sources of help and support.Â If anyone was looking for one or more ready-made 'missions', then this was the place to start!
During MHW 2022, this booklet was made available in both hard copy and in electronic format.Â A copy of the online version can be downloaded by clicking here.
- -Â the number of copies they would like;
- -Â their name, plus the organisation / address / post code or Eircode of where they'd like them delivered to;
- -Â their phone number (in case there was a problem with delivery).
Â Â Â Â Â
Everyone was invited to keep up-to-date with the latest news on Menâ€™s Health Week (MHW) 2022 by checking out the MHW Facebook page (www.facebook.com/MensHealthWeek) and Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/MensHealthIRL).Â Viewers were encouraged toÂ click on the â€˜LIKEâ€™ / 'FOLLOW' buttons, and to send these links to all their friends.
People who are into social media, were also asked to Tweet about MHW using the hashtags #MensHealthWeek | #MissionIsPossible | #TheActionStartsWithYou
There was even a raft of social media images that they could use.
Everyone canÂ do something to support and celebrate Menâ€™s Health Week (MHW) each year.
The focus for MHW 2022 (i.e. â€˜MISSION: isPOSSIBLEâ€™) lent itself to a wide range of ways to mark this occasion.Â However, there was no need toÂ stick rigidly to this particular theme.Â Anything which promoted the week and encouraged men and boys to lead healthier lifestyles, to be more aware of preventable health problems, and to seek early detection and treatment for health difficulties was very welcome!
Some people had the time, energy, resources and skill to plan something elaborate.Â However, even if this was not possible, there were still many simple, free and easy ways to get involved / show support - such as putting-up the poster in public spaces, giving out copies of the postcard to men, social media posting, directing men to the Man Manual, using the MHW graphics ...
For practical ideas and inspiration, everyone was invited to check out: 'What Can I Do To Mark This Week?'
Menâ€™s health issues and needs are numerous and complicated.Â So much so, that we could probably assign a different one to highlight on each day of the year and still have an outstanding pool of ones to explore!Â However, when preparing for Menâ€™s Health Week (MHW) 2022, the all-island Planning Group felt that it would be useful to draw attention to a specific theme on each day during the week, as well as announce the final countdown to MHW during the week before.
The focus for each day was ...
- Thursday 9th June:Â Menâ€™s Health Week 2022 - the final countdown begins
- Friday 10th June:Â MISSION: isPOSSIBLE - the action starts with you
- Monday 13th June:Â Mental fitness
Tuesday 14th June:Â Prevention is better than cure
- Wednesday 15th June:Â Food for thought
- Thursday 16th June:Â Rethink your drink
- Friday 17th June:Â Trash the ash
- Saturday 18th June:Â Letâ€™s get physical - be more than a sports spectator
- Sunday 19th June:Â Fathers - can make wonderful things possible for their kids
Social media (especially Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) has become a powerful tool for organisations to spread their message.Â During Menâ€™s Health Week 2022, everyone was encouraged to â€˜Postâ€™ and â€˜Tweetâ€™ about it and, when possible, to use the hashtags: #MensHealthWeek | #MissionIsPossible | #TheActionStartsWithYou
To support this, a range of social media graphics related to the daily themes were also available.
For those people who would like to support MHW 2022 using their own social media channels - but who didn't have the time, energy or knowledge to develop their own messages - there was also a ready-made pool of Posts and Tweets that they could simply cut-and-paste from.Â Â Everyone was invited to use them all, or simply pick and choose the ones that suited themselves / their organisation / their location.Â Click here to download these suggestions.
Even loading a few things to websites / Facebook pages / Twitter feeds / Instagram / other social media platforms makes a huge difference to publicising the week.Â This was, therefore, an easy and free way to show support for MHW.
Tell others about your Menâ€™s Health Week 2022 Activities
The Men's Health Forum in Ireland (MHFI) always seeksÂ to promote the details of activities / happenings / events that are being held throughout Ireland during Menâ€™s Health Week (MHW).Â It is hoped that this will help everyone to find out what is happening during the week, where it will be takingÂ place, and how - if possible - to join in.Â It also gives some recognition and publicity to all those groups across the island that are doing something for and with men.
These activities might include health checks, conferences, launches, games, seminars, competitions, workshops, courses, displays, health fairs, workplace mail-outs ...Â Whatever the activity, everyone was encouraged to submit their details.Â
There were two ways to let us know about what was happening during 2022:
- Submit the details using the online form or
- Download and save a copy of the MS Word Registration Form, type in the details, and email it back to us.