Back in November, Northern Health released a report examining the state of men’s health in northern BC, and the finding weren’t good. The report said that men in northern BC have much higher rates of various medical problems than women, including obesity and cancer, and that more needs to be done to address the health of men and boys. Now Northern Health is hoping to see that happen by offering 15 grants of $1,000 to people who want to start an organization of program that would benefit men’s health.
“Lets say they’re already a group of people ready to do something about the health of First Nations Seniors, but maybe they’re looking to expand their group to bring in younger men or maybe even women and are need of money, we can set that process up,” says David Bowering who was the chief medical officer officer for Northern Health when the report was released.
While applicants don’t need to have an existing organization or program in order to get the grant, but whatever the decide to start with the money will need to self-sufficient because Northern Health won’t be giving them any more after that.
The hope is that by giving out the 15 grants, Northern Health will be able create independent men’s health initiatives that they can then bring together into a informal network of health services for men throughout the region.
“This initiative recognizes that the problem of Men’s health can be handled by Northern Health alone, not even close. We need lots of regional partners to deal with a problem like this,” says Bowering.
With high rates of obesity, cancer along with tendencies to work demanding and sometimes hazardous jobs, and to soldier through illnesses instead of going to the doctor, has left the collective health of men in the north in bad condition. Dealing with the problem of men’s health is more than just helping men, according to Bowerman its about ensuring an overall healthier society.
“Part of the reason that Women and children aren’t as healthy as they’d like to be, is that men are really unhealthy, as a generalization. The premise is that a healthier man will be able to be better fathers, better brothers, better supports for their partners, and they will help build better communities,”says Bowering.
There many well known initiatives that raise awareness and funds for diseases for women, the Cancer Society’s Run for the Cure which raises funds for breast cancer is just one example. Initiatives dealing with the health issues of men are much rarer. When he and his colleagues decided to do a report on men’s health, even Bowering admits to thinking that nobody would care, but says the response had been better than he expected.
After the report came out in November, Northern Health began doing public consultations on the report and those findings are set to be released sometime in the near future.