My role


National Men's Health Week 2009

Men and Access to Services - June 15-21

stethescope examNational Men's Health Week 2009 has two main objectives:

  1. To improve men's awareness of the range of health and related services and how to use them effectively.
  2. To improve the understanding of health policymakers and practitioners about how to develop and deliver services that men will use.

National Men's Health Week 2009

Men take too many risks with their health — too many drink alcohol excessively, smoke, eat a poor diet, use illegal drugs, have unsafe sex, and drive dangerously.

One of the biggest risks to men's health is their reluctance to seek help from services such as the GP or pharmacist or to take part in health improvement programmes like weight-loss clinics. This is often because services and programmes are not delivered in ways that take account of men's particular needs.

Poor use of services by men has a direct impact on their health and wellbeing. A good example is malignant melanoma — more women than men develop this cancer but more men than women die from it, almost certainly because of late presentation by men.

Men and health services

Men are much less likely than women to use primary health care services, dentists or family planning clinics and sexual health helplines. Men generally do not access community pharmacies for advice and information about health.

There are clear and similar sex differences in participation in weight management and smoking cessation programmes as well as in the Expert Patient Programme and cancer support groups.

The diversity of men

Men are not a homogenous group. Social class, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, age and other demographic factors impact on men's use of services.

Gay men, for example, are often reluctant to use traditional primary care services because they may experience homophobia. Black and ethnic minority men are less likely to seek help for mental health problems from services that have failed to understand their needs.  Migrant workers may not understand how to access the health system effectively,

Older men are often reluctant to use community services where women are in the majority and consider that attending a day centre suggests they have 'given up'.

NMHW 2009 will seek to reflect the different needs and concerns of men from a range of backgrounds and communities.

The aim of the week is to encourage all men not to be embarrassed about seeking help and to make them aware of the range of services there are for them both within the NHS and in the community.

NMHW 2009 activities

During NMHW 2009, the MHF will: 

  • Publish resources for the use of individual men and for professionals including a MHF/Haynes 'mini manual' on men's and health services as well as web-based information — that can be used in a variety of settings. Bespoke materials can be produced for individual organisations.
  • Provide tools to support local events, organised by individual primary care or other health organisations, workplaces, community groups, etc., eg. 'MOT' checks for men or health improvement campaigns on lifestyle issues. A key theme will be encouraging men to make better use of the widest possible range of services.
  • Host a high-profile national launch event in the format of a 'balloon debate'. This will cover a range of men's health issues in an innovative and entertaining way.
  • organise a dynamic debate with the All Party Parliamentary Group on men's health risks.
  • publish new policy on men and their use of health services.
  • organise high profile national/local PR/media activity.
  • The Week will be followed by an expert symposium on men's use of services which will aim to develop further policy and practice

As always, NMHW will not be a negative event focusing just on the problems that exist but will instead seek to promote a positive view of how the problems can be tackled by highlighting — and encouraging — better self-care by men and better practice within the health system.

How can you get involved?


The Forum is keen to work in partnership with the widest possible range of organisations, following the successful model developed for NMHWs since 2004. For 2009, the MHF will work with government, the NHS, employers and employer's organisations, trade unions, third sector organisations with an interest in improving men's health, and others.

We already have many organisations confirmed as working with the MHF on NMHW2009, for more information on how you can become a partner, please click on the link below:

NMHW2009 - Partnership Proposal


Please click on the link below to register your interest in NMHW2009. This is the main way in which the MHF can stay in touch with you and support your activity during June 2009 (and is completely free to do):

NMHW2009 - Registration

Please get in touch with Alana should you have any questions about the local level of NMHW2009 and the registration process: or 02079227908

NMHW2010 - Men and Physical Activity

This week will focus on maximising the opportunities provided by the 2012 Olympics, and will take place between June 14-20.

More information will be available in summer 2009, when we will start speaking to potential partners.

NMHW2011 - 2012

While we have not set the themes for years beyond those outlined above, the dates are outlined below for the NMHWs up to 2012.

NMHW2011 - June 13-19

NMHW2012 - June 11-17 

Please get in touch if you have any suggestions on what we should focus on in future years, you can send us your thoughts using the comments box below. 

Page created on December 15th, 2008

Page updated on December 1st, 2009