Mens Health Week 2020

Celebrating Men's Health Week

This week is International Men's Health Week. Men are less inclined than women to actively maintain their health and receive far less information than women do about the importance of their  health and wellbeing. They are also less likely to seek professional help for problems, particularly those of an emotional nature.

To celebrate and raise awareness of men’s health and mental wellness, some of The George Institute’s men share what wellness means to them:

What does “men’s health” and “mental-health wellness” mean to you?

Gian Luca

Mental health wellness is a vital part of the individual’s overall health but is often overlooked by men who sometimes prefer to suffer in silence because they find it difficult to seek support. Making the decision to talk about it takes courage as men are often raised in a way that encourages them to hide weaknesses. Unfortunately, young boys too often still hear phrases like ‘boys don’t cry’. This can often lead boys and men to be ashamed of their anxiety, depression or stress and they might fear to show vulnerability.


One way to look at these terms is to see them as levers to open the conversation with men who are notoriously reluctant to talk about their own health at any length or in any depth. Using my personal experience as an example, in 1975 when I was 38, I had coronary heart disease with angina, but I told no one about it, not even my wife, and instead made many excuses for not walking up hills, or running more than five or ten yards. I finally told her after four years.


Mental health wellness is a state of well-being; being able to cope with the regular stresses that every-day life throws at you; and something that you really need to become more conscious and take control of as you grow older. Men’s health is everything else that keeps you going and able to enjoy life.

While conventional wisdom is that men aren’t good at talking about their mental health or showing vulnerability, there is perhaps a good reason for it; the stigma and judgement on men showing too much weakness is quite real.


I believe that mental health means being comfortable about who you are, where you are in your life, and how you deal with those around you. In life, to find ‘your pattern’ can take men, young and old, just a few years, many years, or a lifetime. I don’t think until you find ‘your pattern’ can you truly accept who you are and be content.


From my perspective men’s mental health means that we have the same human needs, connection, respect, and hope; however, how men present these needs may be different.  


To me mental health encompasses all aspects of your emotions. Mental health seems to stereotypically have negative connotations, when in fact there are many positive aspects to mental health. Mental health wellbeing is how you balance the aspects of your mental health.

Specifically, in my experience, there seems to be the expectation that men shouldn’t express feelings, display emotions or talk about the way they feel. When in fact it’s a strength for anyone to acknowledge, appreciate and travel the journey that accompanies mental health and understand that in doing do, you lead the way by example, and encourage others to do the same.