Friday, 19 April 2013

Recession Causes Spate Of Male Suicides In Ireland

The recession is thought to be contributing to a spate of suicides in Ireland according the chief executive of a suicide prevention charity told the Irish Times.

Joan Freeman of Pieta House said 10 people die by suicide in Ireland every week and 80% of them are men.

The article was sparked by a spate of suicides in the county of Kerry

Five of the six inquests before the Kerry coroner, Terence Casey, this week were recorded as deaths by suicide. At the previous coroner’s court presided over by Mr Casey three months ago, seven out of eight deaths were by suicide.

According to Ms Freeman, men living in rural areas faced enormous challenges regardless of their age. She said:

“People react to a life event – losing a job, having difficulty finding a job . . . in any country that suffers recession suicide rates will increase automatically,”
Winter may also have been a contributory factor in the recent Kerry suicides. In the dark evenings and short days people may become inactive, Ms Freeman said.

“All these things culminate in a person, a man in particular, feeling very, very low,”

Pieta House, is a centre for the prevention of self-harm and suicide. It recently launched a campaign, Mind Our Men, to help the friends, families and colleagues of men who might be vulnerable to suicide to recognise the signs and tipping points.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

British Men Top Gullet Cancer League Table

White men in Britain have the highest rate of gullet cancer in the world - and men are three times more likely to get the disease than women -  according to a report in The Independent

Cases of adenocarcinoma (cancer in the lower gullet) have risen ten-fold over the past 40 years in the UK and it is now five times more common than squamous cell cancer (a cancer that affects  the upper gullet),  rates of which have remained stable. 

The gullet is a the foodpipe which is around 26cm long and connects the mouth to the stomach. 

Experts believe that a  genetic mutation triggered by the obesity epidemic could lie behind the dramatic increase in a type of cancer 

Cancer of the  gullet (or oesophagus)  has been rising in all western countries because of the changing nature of the disease which is affecting the UK more than any other nation.

It is though that gastric reflux, which causes heartburn, is behind the rise in the cancer.

According to The Independent report, the oesophagus has a sphincter at its base to prevent the acid in the stomach gurgling back into it, damaging the lining and causing heartburn. In some men the sphincter ceases to work properly, a problem aggravated by obesity, allowing the lining to be eaten away which in turn may lead to cancer. 

Men are almost three times more likely to develop cancer of the lower gullet adenocarcinoma than women partly because they have more severe reflux and because they are more likely to have excess weight around their waist rather than their hips – the apple vs pear shape – which increases the rate of reflux, says the report

There are around 8,500 new cases of cancer of the gullet a year - around three quarters of them in men - and it has one of the poorest survival rates of any cancer, with more than eight our of 10 patients dying within five years.

Photo Credit: flickr/Bhakua

Will Inquests Highlight Poor Treatment of Black Men in Custody?

This year, there will be a series of inquests into a number of cases of black deaths in custody, which are expected to highlight the problems faced by detained black men – particularly those held in the mental health system.

According to data from the 005 Count Me In census, black men and mixed race men are three or more times more likely than the general population to be admitted to a psychiatric unit.

Other research has found that despite there being no evidence to suggest that African Caribbean people are more likely to be aggressive than their white counterparts, staff in mental health hospitals are more likely to perceive people from this background as potentially dangerous, according to reports in The Guardian

Writing in The Independent, Matilda MacAttram, director of Black Mental Health UK said:

"Black people are subject to detention under the Mental Health Act in far greater numbers than their white counterparts, even though there isn't a higher prevalence of mental illness. Compulsion and coercion typify the black patient experience.

"This is borne out by figures from a series of reports by the Care Quality Commission on ethnicity and mental health, which shows that black patients are 29 per cent more likely to be forcibly restrained, 50 per cent more likely to be placed in seclusion and far more likely to be labelled as psychotic and given much higher doses of antipsychotic medication than their white counterparts."

One case that will be subject to an inquiry this year is the death of Olaseni Lewis.

Olaseni was a voluntary patient. The 23-year-old masters graduate died after he was restrained by 11 police officers who were called on to the ward by staff at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust in 2010.

Photo Credit: flickr/caitlinator

Time For A National Equal Death At Work Day For Men?

The majority of people who die in the workplace every year are men. In the UK for every woman who dies at work, 30 men will lose their lives while working.

In the US, where men accounted for 92% of workplace deaths in 2011, a professor of economics has been highlighting this inequality since 2010 with Equal Occupational Fatality Day.

The professor in queston, Dr Mark J Perry, explains his thinking:

"Every year, the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) publicizes its “Equal Pay Day” to bring public attention to the gender pay gap. This year, “Equal Pay Day” occurs today, April 9, and represents how far into 2013 the average woman would supposedly have to continue working to earn the same income that the average man earned last year. 

"Inspired by Equal Pay Day, in 2010 I introduced “Equal Occupational Fatality Day” to bring public attention to the huge gender disparity in work-related deaths every year in the United States. “Equal Occupational Fatality Day” tells us how many years into the future women would have to work before they would experience the same number of occupational fatalities that occurred in the previous year for men."

A similar idea was floated in the UK by the journalist Ally Fogg. Speaking at the Second National Conference or Men and Boys in Brighton last year he said:

"You may be aware that according to the Fawcett Society, today is National Equal Pay Day. November 2nd is the point in the year where women would stop earning if their hourly wage was exactly the same as men. But did you know that if men died at work at the same rate as women do, every year there would be no male workplace fatalities after January 10th? I hereby declare January 10th to be Fatal Injuries at Work Day!"

According to the Equalities an Human Rights Commission, RIDDOR statistics show that over 95% of employees killed at work are men. Men accounted for 170 of the 178 fatalities in 2007-08 (96%) and 125 of the 129 fatalities in 2008-09 (97%). 

Photo Credit: flickr/arenamontanus

10 Reasons Psychologists Should Study Men

The clinical psychologist Martin Seager has been trying, without success, to persuade the British Psychological Society (BPS) to approve setting up a specialist men’s section to promote the study of male gender issues.

Here we list 10 of the potential research topics that Martin thinks 
a section on the psychology of men should focus on:

1. Fathering – the role of the father in the development of male and female children

2. Health – gender differences in patterns of physical and mental disorder; male-specific responses to stress; male attitudes to illness; male help-seeking behaviour; the development of male-oriented services and methods of treatment for health problems

3. Suicide – understanding why males are more extreme in their suicidal behaviour and developing gender-specific methods for helping males to become less vulnerable

4. Addictions – exploring gender differences in the use of drugs to deal with emotional distress

5. Eating disorders in men  - exploring the differences and commonalities with female sufferers

6. Male victims of sexual abuse – looking at how the experience of abuse in childhood might impact differently upon males and implications for their support and treatment

7. Male victims of domestic violence – how being a victim of physical abuse within a couple relationship might impact differently on males and implications for intervention

 8. Aggression and violence – exploring the relationship between emotional distress, male gender “scripts” and aggressive acts 

9. Male culture and socialisation – exploring masculinities as a range of male identities beyond an essentialist single notion of masculinity
and gender and role expectations for males in a post-feminist world

10. Gender differences in school performance; understanding and improving how boys learn so as to inform the development of improved gender-specific educational methods

To read more about Martin’s case for creating a men’s section at  the British Psychological Society (BPS), see the article Crisis of masculinity? Time for psychologists to study men

Photo Credit: flickr/juhauski

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Are British Dads The Best Dads In The World?

Are all fathers naturally great, or does the country we are born in make all the difference?

Glen Poole, Director of Helping Men, is writing a series of articles at The Good Men Project to see how dads in different nations compare. 

He'll be asking what helps a nation produce great dads? Is it the culture, tradition, religion, politics, economics, the legal rights of fathers, the way a country values its menfolk or simply a matter of individual choice and behaviour?

And more importantly, he'll consider how we measure the greatness of a nation’s fathers.

One way to find out how great a nation’s dads are is to ask their children, which is exactly what the authors of the United Nation’s “child well-being in rich countries” report did.

They asked children in 28 of the world’s advanced economies if they find it easy to talk to their fathers and mothers.

The good news is that nearly seven out of 10 children (67%) say it’s easy to talk to their dads and just over eight out of 10 children (83%) say it’s easy to talk their mums.

So in terms of the parents whose children don’t find them easy to talk to, around 58% of those parents are dads and 42% are mums.

Overall, in countries where children find it easy to talk to their fathers, they also find it easy to talk to their mothers.

So how did British dads compare with dads in other nations countries?

Well it seems we did do better than the average (67%) scoring 68.6%. This means British dads are a long way behind The Netherlands (81.4%) and Iceland (79.8%) and this measure.

In fact we also trail 10 other countries and land just outside the Top Ten in eleventh position. 

On a positive note, British dads were ahead of dads in 17 other countries in the league table and way ahead of the bottom four Italy (59.9%); United States (59.7%); Belgium (57.3%) and France (50.3%).

Get the full story at The Goodmen Project and read more stories about dads at the Helping Men Fathers: News & Information Page

Photo credit: flickr/BenedictFrancis

Male Suicide in Northern Ireland Has Tripled Since 1980

Suicide rates in Northern Ireland are "unacceptably high" according to the province's health minister, Edwin Poots, who was  speaking on a motion tabled by the health committee on suicide prevention.

Poots said Northern Ireland had seen an upward trend in the numbers of those taking their own lives, whereas numbers had fallen elsewhere in the UK.

According to figures quoted in the debate by Sue Ramsey MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly), male suicide in Northern Ireland has nearly tripled 1980 rising from 9.9 deaths to  27.1 deaths per 1,000 in 2010. The figure for female suicides also rose less dramatically from 5.5 per 1,000 to 8 per 1,000 in the same period. 

NISRA statistics for 2011 show that men in Northern Ireland are three times more likely to kill themselves than women accounting for 218 of the 289 deaths by suicide in 2011

Thanks to Man Matters in Northern Ireland for providing this information. To read more on this story see the BBC website.

To read more about male suicide see the Helping Men Male Suicide: News & Information Page.

Photo credit: flickr/Anosmia  

Russian men four times more likely to die before 60

Russia and other countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States are still the poor men of Europe when it comes to men's health - according to a report published in The Lancet

The study found that nearly four out of ten 20-year-old men in Russia will die before they reach 60, compared with one in ten 20-year-old men in the EU.

The biggest killer is cardiovascular disease with heavy drinking being linked to up to six out of every 10 deaths among working-age men in Russia and one in three among working-age women.

More than twenty years since the end of communism the gender life expectancy gap is still more than 10 years. In 1990 life expectancy was 63 years for men and 74 years for women. By 2000 this had dropped to 58 years for men and 72 years for women. The most recent figures (2009) show that male life expectancy in Russia is 62 years, lower than it was at the end of the communist era, while female life expectancy is 74 years.  

The key causes of this health gap are thought to include hazardous alcohol consumption and high smoking rates in men, the breakdown of social safety nets, rising social inequality and inadequate health services. 

To find out more see The Lancet and view the article Low Life Expectancy Continues to Plague Former Soviet Countries

Photo credit: flickr/

Gay and Bisexual Men At Increased Risk Of Suicide

Gay and bisexual men are at increased risk of suicide according to the campaign groups Stonewall

In 2011 the charity undertook the world's largest survey on gay and bisexual men's health needs attracting nearly 7,000 respondents.

Key findings include:

Gay and bisexual men are three times more likely than straight men to feel that life is not worth living (50% v 17%) and 46% said they felt that way in the past year

Gay and bisexual men are between and seven and nine times more likely than straight men to have considered taking their own life in the past year (gay men 27%, bisexual men 38%, straight men 4%) 

Gay and bisexual men are around ten times more likely than straight men to have attempted taking their own life (gay men 3%, bisexual men 5%, straight men 0.4%) 

10% of 16-19 year old gay and bisexual men have attempted taking their own life 

According to GMFA, the gay men's health charity, suicide is now the biggest killer of young gay men in the UK.

For more information see GMFA's FS Magazine article on male suicide in the gay and bisexual community and see the Helping Men Male Suicide: News and Information Page

Photo Credit: flickr/torbakhopper

One day conference on men's health

The Royal College of General Practitioners is running a one-day men's health conference on Thursday 25th April. 
The event is primarily targeted at anyone who is a GP, GP Trainee, Practice nurse or GP Trainer/educator 
The event promises to provide expert specialist clinical training and essential information on men's health. Some key features of the day are listed below:

  • Benefit from a programme developed by and featuring leading experts, focused on essential information, practical tips and take-home messages that will help you improve your practice and patient outcomes.
  • An opportunity to explore key men's health conditions (including lower urinary tract symptoms and male sexual health) with experts in the field and pick up the most up to date information and developments in treatment including information on early intervention and risk reduction.
  • Learn about important emerging issues such as erectile dysfunction as a marker for CVD and diagnosing and treating testosterone deficiency.
  • Understand better how conditions like depression and obesity can be more effectively prevented and treated in men.
  • Improve your understanding of men's attitudes and behaviours to improve the service your practice provides for men and help develop new ideas for primary care services for men.
  • Discover how your work with men can help you to meet your statutory requirements with respect to equalities.
  • A chance to network with your peers and experts in the field and make useful contacts. 
  • Include in your CPD portfolio in preparation for your annual appraisal and ultimately revalidation.
To find out more visit the RCGP website

Photo Credit: flickr/jamescridland

Monday, 15 April 2013

Men and Psychosexual Issues Study Day

The Association of Psychosexual Nursing is hosting a study day about working with men dealing with issues around fertility, pregnancy and abortion. 

The event, called 'The Man in the Room', acknowledges that these issues have traditionally been regraded as a woman's realm and pose the question - "but how does the man feel?"

Experts leading the day include:

  • Kathy French whose PHD explored the invisibility of young men using contraception and sexual health services who talks about the experience of young men and fatherhood. 

  • David Evans, who describes himself as "a registered nurse and qualified teacher, as well as a former Roman Catholic priest - who now gets paid to talk about sex all day". David runs a popular 'Sexual Health Skills' course for nurses. 

  • Vicky Dixon who works as a young person's outreach nurse in Southamption and will lead a discussion which asks "are we failing men in abortion". 

The Man in the Room study day will be held in Soho on Saturday May 11th 2013, for more information see this link

Photo Credit: flickr/nateOne

Only 1 in 3 UK Men Are a Healthy Weight

A shocking 66% of men are now an unhealthy weight, compared with 39% for women. Only one in three men in the UK are a healthy weight according to new data from the NHS.
Boys are also more likely to be overweight with 31 per cent of boys aged two to 15 were considered obese or overweight in 2011 compared with 28 per cent of girls. 
Experts say a healthy weight is a body mass index (BMI) of between 18.5 and 25,  which is calculated by dividing weight by height squared.
In a worrying trend, the number of men's with an unhealthy BMI is increasing, the proportion for boys stayed the same while the figures for girls and women fell. 
Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: "These figures are a sobering reminder that we have one of the highest rates of obesity in the western world and that it causes dangerous and life-limiting health conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease which place pressure on the health system.
For further information see the article 'only one in three men a healthy weight' in the Daily Telegraph. 

Photo Credit: flickr/tobyotter

Charity Calls on Scottish MPs to Give Boys HPV Cancer Vaccine

The Throat Cancer Foundation has called on the Scottish government to give the HPV (human papilloma virus) to boys as well as girls. 

There is a strong link between the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and cancer of the throat, penis, anus and cervix.

Girls aged 12-13 in the UK are already vaccinated against HPV to help prevent cervical cancer but not boys.

According to the charity:

"The current policy excludes males because of the assumption that "herd immunity" will protect the male population. Herd immunity is a flawed and discriminatory policy which must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

"Australia has started to vaccinate it’s young men and the vaccine is being recommended in the USA and Canada for young men. Scotland should take this opportunity to be at the vanguard of the global Human Papillomavirus epidemic and start protecting all of it’s citizens as a matter of urgency. The more time we spend procastinating , the more lives we are putting in danger."

In February we reported that the charity has won the support of around 50 MPS at Westminster for it's campaign to give boys the HPV vaccine

You can support the Throat Cancer Foundation's campaign by signing and sharing its throat cancer vaccine for boys petition

Photo credit: flickr/USACE Europe District

Fee Rise Causes Fall In Working Class Boys Attending University

The proportion of working class boys who took places at university fell by 1.4% between 2010 and 2012. The proportion or working class girls attending university rose by 0.9% in the same period, the Guardian has reported.

According to The Independent Commission on Fees  the rise in tuition fees last September – from £3,290 to up to £9,000 a year – is putting off significantly more men than women and creating a "worrying gender gap".

Last month Mary Curnock Cook, the head of the admissions service, Ucas, said she was “very worried” about the decline in the proportion of young men applying for places on degree courses.

And in January the Universities Minister, David Willetts, called on universities to do more to help working-class white boys after it was revealed that the entry rate for men fell four time faster than the entry rate for women. 

Willetts said that the latest statistics were "the culmination of a decades-old trend in our education system which seems to make it harder for boys and men to face down the obstacles in the way of learning."

Of the 558,898 candidates who applied to university by the January deadline this year, 319,752, or 57.2 per cent, were women. Some 239,146, or 42.8 per cent, were men, according to the Daily Telegraph.


Photo Credit: flickr/Fahim Fadz