When 4 out of 5 men who feel they are not in good health are looking to change that, it’s clear that the right information, opportunities, and support must be provided in order for them to accomplish that goal. This finding is from our October 2021 survey that asked men about their thoughts, feelings, and actions as related to health and wellness. These audience insights can help us craft messaging that gets at the core of the issues blocking individuals from being healthier: In this case, breaking down outdated conceptions of masculinity may be the key to unlocking better health outcomes for men and masculine folks.
This is the mission behind the “No More Silence” campaign, newly launched by Healthline and The Man Enough Podcast in honor of Men’s Health Awareness Month. This campaign — featuring creators Justin Baldoni, Jamey Heath, Liz Plank, and Yolo Akili Robinson — will help men reimagine the relationship between masculinity and health and empower men and masculine folks to kick-start their own wellness journeys.
What Men Are Looking for from Health and Wellness Today
67% of male respondents in our survey feel that they are in good or excellent health. In addition, there are encouraging signs that men who feel fair to very poor about their health want to take action to improve their well-being. Of the 33% who feel less positive about their health, an overwhelming 83% say they would like to take steps to improve it.
But what motivates this desire to improve? These respondents are motivated to get healthy primarily in order to feel stronger (41%) and feel good (40%). The survey also found that men rank notably higher than women when it comes to motivations like feeling more in control (28% versus 13%) and participating in activities they enjoy (30% versus 20%).
Improving health and wellness for men is clearly a personal journey, driven by positive possibilities to feel stronger and confident and participate fully in everyday life. But this journey toward health and wellness is truly a lifelong one with many obstacles to overcome. Could the societal expectations for men to “be strong” and “be in control” actually be deterring them from speaking out about their health issues and seeking care?
Healthline research shows that men are 11% less likely than women to attend an annual checkup, a key marker for overall health. It’s important that men not only begin to address their health, but keep at it and continue doing so as they get older.
To gain insight into the challenge of keeping up with men’s health, we asked our male audiences 50 years and older about their prostate health, a key area for men’s health, and the results showed room for improvement:
26% of men 50 years and older have never had a prostate exam, and 24% feel that they do not need one.
25% of men 50 and older have held back from getting a prostate exam due to feelings of personal intrusion or discomfort.
Only 49% of men 50 years and older get prostate exams regularly as directed by their doctor.
As important as prostate exams are, especially for older men, our results suggest that societal stigma still causes some men to focus on personal intrusion and discomfort rather than potential health benefits.
A Turning Tide for Men’s Mental Health
On the whole, stigma around mental health seems to be fading, with 73% of men in the United States agreeing they feel comfortable discussing the subject with peers and loved ones. Among these men, 56% feel that mental health should be talked about more often, and half say that they feel in control of their own mental health.
Historically, men have found it difficult to open up about their mental well-being, so this positive shift is a comforting revelation. With “No More Silence,” we hope to keep men’s mental health in the center of the cultural conversation, not in the shadows.
That said, there is more to do to help more men access mental health resources in a way that addresses the negative effects of masculinity. Of those who feel uncomfortable talking about their mental health:
38% feel that mental health is a private topic.
35% feel that they don’t know enough about the topic to engage in a conversation about it.
34% are afraid of being judged.
In the survey, both men (43%) and women (66%) agreed that it’s easier for women to talk about mental health. Men said this is because it’s more acceptable for women to discuss their feelings and they don’t experience the same pressure to “be tough” that many men do.
Even as the tide is turning, social pressure and self-limiting ideas of masculinity may still prevent many men from addressing their mental health. Only 40% of men who were comfortable discussing mental health feel that the importance of mental health is widely recognized in our society today.
Being open to mental wellness and speaking with loved ones is only the start. The next step, speaking with a mental health professional, can be an excellent choice for many people. And yet, the survey shows that two-thirds of U.S. men have never done so, primarily because they think it’s too expensive (15%), they’re too busy (9%), and they don’t know whether it’s going to help them (9%).
How Healthline Media Is Supporting Men’s Health
All these insights suggest a need and an opportunity to help men open up and overcome stigmas, and to get them invested in their own health and wellness. Empathetic messaging that emphasizes the importance of taking action may play a vital role in fundamentally expanding the societal definition of masculinity and associating it with health and wellness.
Our partnership with inspiring and prolific creators in men’s health, like Justin Baldoni, Jamey Heath, and Liz Plank of The Man Enough Podcast, as well as healing justice worker Yolo Akili Robinson, is designed to spark exciting new conversations that help break down societal barriers. Each thought leader brings their own diverse background, perspective, and expertise, helping us craft comprehensive content that resonates with our audience, and ultimately encourages them to take action and pursue the health and wellness solutions they need.
Head over to our main page for “No More Silence,” which has video episodes featuring our creators plus other men’s health resources, including a Q&A with Justin Baldoni. Read our news release for more details about the campaign and our partnership with The Man Enough Podcast.
To learn more about the “No More Silence” campaign or how we can work together to support men’s health, contact your Healthline Media representative or email us today.
Source: Healthline Media Men's Health survey conducted in October 2021 with 1,200 adult consumers weighted to represent the U.S. population.