ⓘ International Mens Health Week
International Mens Health Week is an international week celebrated in several countries the week preceding and including Fathers Day to focus on issues facing mens health. International Mens Health Week began at an international level in 2002 when representatives from six mens health organizations around the world met in a meeting organized by Mens Health Network at the 2nd World Congress on Mens Health in Vienna, Austria and resolved to work together to launch International Mens Health Week. This meeting followed preliminary discussions in 2001, at the first World Congress on Mens Health, about the need to coordinate awareness periods around the globe.
Observers of Mens Health Week are sometimes seen wearing a blue ribbon as a symbol of their support for the fight against prostate cancer. However, problems affecting mens health extend far beyond prostate cancer and other commonly recognized mens illnesses. Physicians and mens health activists mark Mens Health Week with awareness campaigns to highlight additional health concerns such as diabetes, osteoporosis, family health, workplace accidents, and mens higher likelihood of suicide or being a victim of homicide.
1. Vienna Declaration
The European Mens Health Forum returned to Austria in 2005 to create the Vienna Declaration which serves as a plan of action for improving the state of mens health. According to the Society for Mens Health and Gender, the five main points of the Vienna Declaration are:
- Changing the way health care is provided to be more sensitive towards mens needs
- Recognizing mens health is a critical issue and that there are health issues which only affect men
- Creating school and community programs which target boys and young men
- Connecting health and social policies to better pursue mens health goals
- Promoting awareness of mens approach to health
The aim of IMHW is slightly wider than its domestic equivalent, aiming to increase awareness of general male health issues and to encourage inter- and intra-national institutions to provide better care for health issues affecting men around the world. Some affiliates of IMHW include The Mens Health Forum in England and Wales, Mens Health Society of BC, in British Columbia, Rotary International, the San Maarten Public Health Department in the Netherlands Antilles, the Mens Health Information and Resource Centre in Australia and Mens Health Network in the United States and other countries.
Although IMHW is most widely observed in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States, there has been collaboration with reproductive and sexual health programs for men in Central and South America, Africa, and Asia as well.
Because mens health is still an emerging issue, IMHW has been helpful in bringing awareness of the issue to areas where mens health has yet to become accepted. Countries in which mens health has come to be viewed as a more legitimate concern have collaborated with mens health activists elsewhere.
2.1. Participants International Mens Health Week Activities
- Denmark: Symposium on Mens Health
- Australia: Mens Health Information and Resource Centre Mens Health Week campaign of events and resources
- United States: Work place health screenings & educational events, lectures by athletes, public awareness campaigns, and social media engagement. The official Wear Blue Day is the Friday of Mens Health Week.
- Canada: The Mens Health Society of British Columbia organized a picnic, open house, and athletic event
- Netherlands - Antilles: A variety of events
- England, Scotland and Wales: Events made by a coalition of related organizations
- Austria: Hospitals offered free health screenings and restaurants offered healthy selections
3.1. History Mens Health Week
Mens Health Week, celebrated annually during the week preceding and including Fathers Day, honors the importance of mens health and wellness. Mens Health Week was chosen for this specific time of year to make use of the extra attention paid to male family members near the holiday. Observing Mens Health Week is meant to educate the public about what can be done to improve the state of mens health and provide free and convenient health services to men who wouldnt otherwise receive such care.
Mens Health Week was created by Congress in 1994 to heighten awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. The bills creating Mens Health Week were sponsored by former Senator Bob Dole and former Congressman Bill Richardson. The sponsors cited the cost-effectiveness of a shift from treatment to prevention in health care emphasis when presenting the bill. The supporters of Mens Health Week also noted that prevention requires public awareness and designating a week would spread information on preventing illnesses affecting men, which includes nationwide events and screenings. "I especially thank … the Men’s Health Network for … tireless efforts on behalf of this legislation," Congressman Bill Richardson NM, upon Congressional passage of Mens Health Week in 1994.
The governors of the states and territories in the USA have adopted the week, as have the mayors of many of the major cities. The proclamations are display on the Mens Health Week website. Typical Mens Health Week events include educational lectures by sports figures, free health screenings, health fairs, and seminars. Mens Health Week events are planned so that they are easily attended even by men with a full work schedule. Things to do can be found on the official Mens Health Month website. Although not officially recognized by congress, mens health activists observe Mens Health Month throughout June.
3.2. History Internationalization
Mens Health Week expanded to an international level when representatives from six mens health organizations around the world met at the 2nd World Congress on Mens Health in Vienna, Austria in 2002 and resolved to work together to launch International Mens Health Week IMHW. The aim of IMHW is slightly wider than its domestic equivalent, aiming to increase awareness of general male health issues and to encourage inter- and intra-national institutions to provide better care for health issues affecting men around the world. Some affiliates of IMHW include The Mens Health Forum in England and Wales, The Mens Health Forum Scotland MHFS, Mens Health Network USA and other countries, Australasian Mens Health Forum and Mens Health Society of BC, in British Columbia, Rotary International, and the San Maarten Public Health Department in the Netherlands Antilles.
3.3. History Wear BLUE for Mens Health
Friday of Mens Health Week has been officially named Wear BLUE Day for the week. Organizations and individuals can host a Wear BLUE day to raise awareness and money for education about mens need to seek regular checkups, or testicular cancer education, prostate cancer education, or other health issues that affect men. Wear BLUE was created by Mens Health Network to raise awareness about the importance of male health and to encourage men to live longer and healthier lives. Many people take advantage of less stringent work attire to show their support of mens health by wearing blue. The social media hashtag has #ShowUsYourBlue has grown over the years
3.4. History Blue Monday
Blue Monday is the official kickoff for National Mens Health Week, proclaimed by President Clinton in 1994. Created by Dr. Michael Lutz from the Michigan Institute of Urology nonprofit Mens Health Foundation, Blue Monday was first recognized in 2015 by the Michigan Senate designating Blue Monday as the kickoff for Mens Health Week. The bipartisan resolution proclaims" Blue Monday” as a day to kick off Mens Health Week and promote mens health engagement, education and advocacy. One in 7 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and 1 in 38 will die, even though prostate cancer is 100% curable when caught early. The goal of Blue Monday is to create awareness of mens health issues worldwide and to save lives. The first Blue Monday, June 15, 2015 was recognized and promoted in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, Wisconsin, Canada, and Florida. Blue Monday continues to grow each year and the Mens Health Foundation has partnered with the nonprofit Mens Health Initiative and together they are working to achieve international recognition for Blue Monday.
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