Care for Men campaign to benefit Island families

The campaign team will share displays at community events to provide information about men’s health

Every year in November, “Movember” and International Men’s Day are widely celebrated to promote men’s and boys’ health.

This year, Island Health, the Canadian Mental Health Association (Port Alberni, Mid-Island and Cowichan Valley branches) and the Prostate Centre have joined forces to raise awareness for men’s health – especially prostate cancer and mental health issues for men.

The Care for Men campaign will run from Nov. 1 to Dec. 6. The campaign team will share displays at community events to provide information about men’s health and give out “Care for Men” cards to community members, who are encouraged to write a message to show how they care for their men’s health.

“A lot of the time, men refuse to talk about the mental health issues they have,” said Anne Hodge, Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association Mid-Island and Cowichan Valley branch. “It’s not uncommon for men to have mental health issues, and often times they go unrecognized and untreated.”

According to Bob Hargreaves, Executive Director of CMHA (Port Alberni), about 11 per cent of men in Canada will experience major depression in the course of their lives. More than three times as many men as women die by suicide in Canada.

“There are also health conditions that only affect men, such as prostate cancer. In 2013, it was estimated that 811 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer on Vancouver Island,” added Leanne Kopp, Executive Director of the Prostate Centre. “The good news is when caught and treated early, prostate cancer has a 90-95% survival rate.”

“Men are generally more reluctant to seek help for health issues than women,” added Dr. Paul Hasselback, Medical Health Officer for Island Health. “They have to take responsibility for their health by eating healthier, adopting a healthy lifestyle and seeking early treatment if they detect something goes wrong. Avoid smoking and the harmful use of alcohol, and learn how to cope with stress to minimize health risks.”

Vancouver Island residents can find out the locations and dates of the Care for Men displays on the website or social media of the four organizations. The team will be active at community events in Nanaimo, Campbell River, Comox Valley, Port Alberni and Cowichan Valley. Information will be updated at www.viha.ca/health_info/men.htm as new events are added.