2 men talking and smiling
Debunking the myths about men’s health Image by: Movember
2 men talking and smiling
13 June 2023

Debunking the myths about men’s health

3 minutes read time

Men are infamous for their tendency to opt for avoidance when facing health concerns, but new research commissioned by leading men’s health charity Movember, suggests these longstanding stereotypes may be seeing an overdue positive shift.

Coinciding with Men’s Health week (June 12 – June 18), the global survey, which was conducted by Ipsos and included 2,155 Canadians aged 18 to 75, showed 4 in 5 Canadian men (80%) had spoken to their healthcare practitioner at least once over the last 12 months. In fact, more male (49%) than female (43%) respondents noted they would see a healthcare practitioner as soon as they noticed a health issue, challenging the common perception that men either ignore health problems, or are slow to seek medical advice.

While traditionally, it has been assumed that men require a push when facing physical health concerns, nearly half of the men surveyed (47%) said they book or have their healthcare practitioner appointment booked with no prompting. Of the 27 per cent of men who did require a friendly nudge, more than half (53%) said the prompt came from a partner/spouse, a reminder that men’s health impacts go beyond just men.

Founded 20 years ago, Movember has been committed to moving the needle, tackling these common male stereotypes, and working to raise awareness for men’s health on a global scale, encouraging men to prioritize both their mental and physical wellbeing. This most recent survey, which explores men’s current attitudes towards their health, provides a better understanding of the potential improvements made, but also clearly demonstrates that there is further work to be done, particularly when it comes to men’s mental wellbeing.

While the stats do warrant a dose of optimism when analysing men’s attitudes towards their physical health, the same can’t quite be said for their attitudes regarding mental health. The survey showed, overall Canadians were more likely to prioritize their physical health (37%) than they were their mental health (28%), but while nearly a third of women selected mental health as a top priority, only a quarter of men noted the same.

Although men tend to act quickly when noticing physical symptoms, such as finding a lump on their testicle or blood in their stool (81% and 80% respectively, noted they would seek help within two weeks), over a third of men (35%) would wait a month or more to seek help if they were feeling down or agitated more often than usual, both of which can be precursors to mental health concerns like anxiety and depression.

Worryingly, one quarter of men (26%) said they would either wait over a year or not make an appointment at all if these feelings arose. Unfortunately, this theme remains consistent with previous research conducted by the organization. In a survey commissioned by Movember in 2021, 75 per cent of Canadians felt the men in their life were less likely than the women to share their mental health concern.