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Minister Gerry Kelly addresses men’s health seminar

10 September, 2008

Sinn Féin Junior Minister Gerry Kelly has called on men here, young and old, to get involved in tackling men's health issues.

He told a seminar that the only way to make real improvements in the health and life expectancy of men was to get them directly involved in health issues.

"In this modern age with its focus on health there is still a reluctance to discuss men's health," the Minister told the "Nowhere Man" health seminar.

"Men can be guilty of adopting an approach to seeking medical help which does them few favours and many die from illnesses due to the fact that they seek help too late.

"Through a number of initiatives being promoted through our Programme for Government we are seeking to improve the general well being of all our people and not least among men.

"It is important that we identify the issues that affect men only and we believe this is best achieved through input from men, particularly to the Men's Action Plan that is being developed at present," the Minister added.

Mr Kelly said the Action Plan would be a key tool in delivering the aims and objectives of the Executive's Gender Equality Strategy and that all departments would play a role in making a real difference to men's lives.

"There is still much to do and this will involve health professionals, academics and other experts, and most importantly men themselves. The only way to successfully tackle the issues affecting men is to involve them at every stage of the process so that we can develop appropriate strategies," he said.

The seminar, organised by Men's Action Network, the Men's Project (Parents Advice Centre) and Youth Action, brought together key policy-makers, service providers and researchers to look at the health needs of local men.

They heard that:

  • the life expectancy is much lower for men than for women;
  • many men die from illnesses because they seek treatment too late; depression is a significant but hidden issue for many males; and
  • there are high-suicide rates among males and stress-related illness is on the increase.

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