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Forum News - April 2001

The newsletter of the Men's Health Forum - April 2001

About Forum News

Welcome to Forum News. This newsletter, which we aim to publish every six months, is designed to keep Forum members, and others with an interest in men's health, up-to-date with our activities and other key developments. Stories in this issue include:

[About Forum News] [All party group on men's health] [Young Men And Suicide] [Prostate health research] [Erectile dysfunction (impotence) awareness campaign] [Men's Health Journal] [Men's Health Conference] [Men's health Forum - organisation, membership and funding


All Party Group on Men's Health

The first All Party Group on Men's Health was launched at Westminster on 7 March 2001.

The Group comprises 31 members - 17 Labour, 6 Conservative and 8 Liberal Democrat - and is chaired by Dr Howard Stoate, the Labour MP for Dartford. The Group's role is to raise awareness of men's health issues both within and beyond Westminster.

The All Party Group's first public action was to back The Men's Health Forum's campaign, also launched on 7 March, to encourage health authorities to do more to tackle the serious and growing problem of young male suicides.

Speaking at the launch, Yvette Cooper MP, minister for public health, said: 'It is important that we raise awareness of men's health issues and tackle the gender inequalities that exist in health. I wholeheartedly support the launch of the All Party Group on Men's Health and look forward to working with the Group to improve men's health. Problems in men's health arise throughout their lives and the stark fact is that life expectancy for women is five years longer than that for men.

'By recognising the gender gap in health we can see where the differences are and can modernise health promotion and health services to respond to the needs of men as well as women. Some men's health projects are already underway, but we need to do more. Action to tackle men's health issues won't just help men. The partners, sisters and daughters of men who die prematurely or whose chronic illness requires years of care have much to gain from improving men's health too.'

The actor Ian Lavender (star of the still-broadcast TV hit series Dad's Army) spoke about his experience of bladder cancer and the importance of men becoming more aware of their health. Scotland and Harlequins rugby player Eric Peters, who has recently been treated for testicular cancer, stressed how important it is for men to visit the doctor as soon as they detect a potential problem.

Over the next 12 months, the issues the All Party Group is likely to consider include: the role of Government and other key agencies in improving men's health, prostate disease, heart disease, alcohol misuse, depression and sexual problems (including erectile dysfunction).

The members of the All Party Group on Men's Health are:

Mr David Amess MP (Con); Mr Peter Bottomley MP (Con); Dr Peter Brand MP (LD); Ms Helen Rosemary Brinton MP (Lab); Mr Russell Brown MP (Lab); Lord Tim Clement-Jones (LD); Lord Colwyn (Con); Mr Frank Cook MP (Lab); Mr Tom Cox MP (Lab); Baroness Cumberlege (Con); Mr Jim Dobbin MP (Lab); Mr Michael Fabricant MP (Con) - Vice Chair; Mrs Sandra Gidley MP (LD) - Vice Chair; Ms Jane Griffiths MP (Lab); Mr Win Griffiths MP (Lab); Dr Evan Harris MP (LD); Mr Stephen Hesford MP (Lab); Mr Kelvin Hopkins MP (Lab); Mr Simon Hughes MP (LD); Mr Nigel Jones MP (LD); Ms Alice Mahon MP (Lab); Mr John Maxton MP (Lab); Mr Kevin McNamara MP (Lab); Ms Linda Perham MP (Lab) - Vice Chair; Mr Bob Russell MP (LD); Ms Debra Shipley MP (Lab); Dr Howard Stoate MP (Lab) - Chair; Dr Jenny Tonge MP (LD); Mr Rudi Vis MP (Lab); Mr John Wilkinson MP (Con); Mr Derek Wyatt MP (Lab).

The Men's Health Forum provides the secretariat for the All Party Group. For more information about the Group, contact Colin Penning at the Forum - Tel: 020 7388 4449; e-mail:


Young men and suicide

The Men's Health Forum has just published two new reports about the increasingly important issue of young men and suicide.

Young Men and Suicide: Summary Report (PDF) summarises the comprehensive research report the Forum published last year. A companion report, Young Men and Suicide: Strategy guidelines for health authorities (PDF), contains advice to health authorities. This is being sent direct to those officers with specific responsibility for suicide prevention.

In the last 20 years, the suicide rate among young men has increased by 55 per cent while that of young women has remained stable. In England and Wales in 1999, over 1,500 men aged 15-34 took their own lives. 'If suicide among young men was caused by an infection, we'd be calling it an epidemic', said Dr Ian Banks, President of The Men's Health Forum.

The Forum's research clearly shows that traditional suicide prevention strategies have not been effective as far as young men are concerned and that more imaginative ways of tackling this problem are required.

The Men's Health Forum is urging every health authority in England to recognise the particular problems, experiences and needs of young men and to bring together a broad range of local agencies to develop initiatives that will reach at-risk individuals. The Forum stresses that suicide prevention strategies must do much more than rely on GPs, not least because young men are the group least likely to seek advice from a doctor.

The Forum is also offering a new consultancy service to health authorities on suicide prevention and young men. It offers:

  • Detailed briefings on our research into young men and suicide.
  • Assistance with developing an effective suicide prevention strategy.
  • Training on working with young men.
  • A consultancy package tailored to meet specific requirements.

The Men's Health Forum is offering this service in collaboration with Working With Men, a not-for-profit training and consultancy service specialising in men's health issues. Trefor Lloyd, Working With Men's Director, wrote the reports on young men and suicide for the Men's Health Forum. He is also co-editor of Promoting Men's Health: A Guide for Practitioners (Ballière Tindall; London, 2001).

For more information about any aspect of the Forum's work on suicide, contact the Forum's Co-ordinator, Peter Baker:

Tel: 020 7388 4449. e-mail:


Prostate health research

The Men's Health Forum is launching a major new research project to develop tools to increase men's awareness of prostate health in a workplace setting. Researchers are about to be appointed and the project should be completed by January 2002.

Prostate health is emerging as a key priority. Nearly 22,000 men in the UK are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and the Department of Health has recently launched the NHS Prostate Cancer Programme. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), which shares similar symptoms with prostate cancer in the early stages, affects about half of all men by the age of 60, rising to eight out of 10 men in their 80s. Prostatitis, an often painful inflammation of the prostate, affects a much broader age-range and is thought to affect one in eight men at some stage in their lifetime.

Despite the widespread prevalence of these conditions, many men remain unaware of the symptoms and possible treatments. This leads to unnecessary suffering as well as delayed diagnosis and treatment which, in cases of prostate cancer, can be life-threatening.

Given men's general reluctance to access health services, particularly primary care, it is important to develop innovative ways of providing them with health information and of encouraging them to see a health professional where appropriate. It is becoming increasingly clear that taking health interventions to 'where men are' can make a significant difference and, in this context, the workplace is an obvious venue. The workplace has also been identified as a key setting in Our Healthier Nation.

The aim of this project is to develop effective workplace-based methods of increasing men's awareness of prostate problems and their symptoms and to encourage those affected to seek appropriate help.

The project will identify:

  • Men's current (baseline) understanding and awareness of prostate problems.
  • Any changes in understanding and awareness following exposure to a variety of health promotion interventions.
  • Whether increased understanding and awareness leads to a greater willingness to seek help.
  • Which types of health promotion intervention are most effective in increasing understanding and awareness of prostate problems and changing behaviour in terms of seeking help.

The project will be conducted in an occupational setting to test whether this provides an effective context for achieving the desired outcomes.

The research findings will be made available through a report which will be published by the Men's Health Forum.

For more information about this project, , contact the Forum's Co-ordinator, Peter Baker:

Tel: 020 7388 4449. e-mail:


Erectile dysfunction (impotence) awareness campaign

Over the past few months, the national press have carried a range of advertisements designed to increase men's awareness of erectile dysfunction (ED) and to encourage those affected to seek professional help.

This is important, not just because ED is a distressing condition in itself but because it can be an early-warning sign of a potentially dangerous underlying condition such as heart disease or diabetes. ED is thought to affect one in 10 adult men.

These advertisements, run jointly by The Men's Health Forum and the Impotence Association, have been paid for by an educational grant from Pfizer Ltd. They will soon be available in poster form for use by health professionals. Details of how to order the posters will be placed on the website as soon as they are available.


Men's Health Journal

The first edition of The Men's Health Journal, the official journal of The Men's Health Forum, will be published in June 2001.

The Journal will mainly focus on how to improve primary care services for men and will be directed at GPs and nurses within the primary care team. It will, however, also be of great interest to other healthcare professionals within the community, in health promotion and in secondary care.

Published quarterly, the Journal will cover a broad range of issues that are male-specific or lead to greater mortality or morbidity in men. The emphasis will be on examples of good practice that help to promote men's health issues.

Topics likely to be covered in the first issue include:

  • The state of men's health
  • Suicide prevention in young men
  • Chlamydia and men
  • How men respond to illness
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Exercise on prescription
  • The inter-relationship of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • A profile of Colin Osborne, President of the Orchid Cancer Appeal
  • News and reviews

The Journal's editor is Dr Ian Banks and the deputy editor Peter Baker, the President and the Co-ordinator of the Men's Health Forum respectively.

For more information about the Journal, including details of subscriptions and advertising/sponsorship opportunities, contact the publisher, Christine Bishop of the Medical Education Partnership:

Tel: 01279 714510; e-mail:


Men's Health Conference

The Men's Health Forum will be hosting a major one-day conference on men's health in London on 11 December 2001.

The key issues covered will include heart disease, prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction and mental health. There will also be a focus on developing a coherent national men's health policy.

Further details of the conference will be available soon. To make sure you receive them, please notify the Forum at

It is hoped that the conference will become an annual event.


Men's health Forum - organisation, membership and funding

A charitable company

The Men's Health Forum is now a limited company and is awaiting registration by the Charity Commission. Once this process has been completed, the Forum will be in a much stronger position to raise the funds it desperately need to expand its activities. It is currently very over-stretched with just one part-time permanent worker (the Co-ordinator).

As part of its legal re-constitution, Dr Ian Banks has been designated President. The Vice-President is Jane DeVille-Almond. For more details of who's who at the Forum, click here.


The funding of the Forum remains limited but is steadily improving - the Forum's annual income now exceeds £100,000 for the first time - and there is increasing interest for outside organisations in supporting the Forum's work. The Forum now receives financial support from 10 different sources.

For further information about opportunities for supporting the work of the Forum, including its work with the All Party Group on Men's Health, contact Peter Baker:

Tel: 020 7388 4449. e-mail:



There are now over 250 individual and organisational members of the Forum and this number is now rising steadily. Historically, membership has been free, reflecting the fact that the Forum has not been in a position to offer its members any significant service. With the introduction of this website, the forthcoming publication of the Men's Health Journal and the new annual conference, this situation is changing and the Forum is now actively considering how it can introduce appropriate membership charges.

It is still possible to join the Forum at no charge simply by completing our online application form. Click here, for details.

England and Wales

There are now men's health forums in Scotland and Ireland (cross-border). The Men's Health Forum has therefore decided to confine its activities to England and Wales while working closely with its colleagues in Scotland and Ireland.

For details of the Men's Health Forum Scotland, contact Alistair Pringle -

For details of the Men's Health Forum Ireland, contact Ian Banks -


Page created on September 11th, 2003

Page updated on January 30th, 2013