men and mental healthMen's Health Champion

Coronavirus has certainly made this year a challenging one for everyone. For some it has increased isolation, loneliness, everyday stress and anxiety. We have seen an increase in these areas within our male beneficiaries.

We want to support our male beneficiaries and are training some volunteers to become Men's Health Champions.

What is a Men’s Health Champion?

Health Champions are not health professionals but members of the public who care about public health and want to help improve it.

Almost anyone can train to be a Health Champion. Champions are often members of a group, club, workplace, company or other organisation who watch out for their colleagues. It can be very fulfilling to see people turn their health round.

Health Champions can be particularly important for overcoming potential isolation around working from home and/or being unable to attend our usual social and leisure events.

Anyone can train to be a Men’s Health Champion, you do not need to have a medical background or knowledge. The role is being able to guide and support men in finding the right information or services on how to improve their health.

Why did we train to be a Men’s Health Champion?

2020 has been an exceptionally strange year due to Coronavirus which has increased isolation, loneliness and anxiety levels. We have seen this in our male beneficiaries.

We wanted to be able to support our male beneficiaries by understanding why they sometimes find it difficult to talk about their health.

counselling therapy for mental healthCan anyone be a Health Champion?

Pretty much. Health Champions are empathetic, good listeners and willing to talk about health and other difficult issues. They are also supportive without being directive. You don't need to be a health expert.

Do Health Champions make a difference for men?

The research suggests they can make a real difference. For men, they can be particularly useful. For instance, their more informal, man-to-man approach can provide an invaluable stepping stone between the men in their community and traditional, more formal health services.

What did the training involve?

The training was carried out in an informal way with plenty of discussions on why men do not feel comfortable, or like, talking about their health. Although it was fun, the training was very informative and looked seriously on how we could encourage men to engage with local services to talk about their health. It also looked at how we could present information to encourage them to read it.

The training course was very participative and interactive. It consisted of 2 two-hour sessions online delivered by experienced Men's Health Forum associate trainers using Zoom.

Michelle Robinson from the Health & Wellbeing team has already completed the training. In addition, two of our male volunteers will be having the training on the 5th and 7th of January.

What are the next steps?

Our aim is to build up resources on the main issues affecting men’s health so we can share these with our male beneficiaries.

During 2021 we will be organising some Awareness Weeks to promote health issues that affect men disproportionately.  They will focus on getting men to become aware of problems they may have or could develop, and gain the courage to do something about it.

We will be developing a Men’s Health page on our website and will be making men’s health leaflets available online and in the office.

If you want to know more about men’s health issues, or wish to talk to anyone at any time, please call the Health & Wellbeing team on 01480 474074 or email.

Further information and Men’s Health resources

The Men’s Health Forum is a website that offers support and advice on health issues affecting men. Earlier this year we ran an Awareness Week, concentrating on those health issues. The Men’s Health Forum have useful books and leaflets available which include:

  • The Man Manual
  • How to live in a Covid world
  • Beat stress, feel better
  • Serious drinking
  • Diabetes for men
  • Man to Man

They also have a book on ‘Man MOT’ for the mind, which offers useful help and advice on mental wellbeing.

Men’s Health Forum – Man Manuals

The man manual from the men's health forum

See the range of Man Manuals available

It may be that you are feeling very well and do not need any help and that is great. However, if there are times when you are not feeling so good, please take a look at these resources as there could be some support and advice that may help through this time.