Australian men are more likely than Australian women to get sick from serious health problems. Their mortality rate is also much higher. Men die in greater numbers than women from almost every non-sex-specific health problem. Overall, for every two women who die, three men die.
This figure holds true among children too. In deaths due to accidents or drowning, boys account for two out of three deaths.
Male deaths outnumber female deaths in every age group apart from the over-65 years, and only because so many men die before reaching retirement. Compared to women, men visit the doctor less frequently, have shorter visits and only attend when their illness is in its later stages.
Men in Western societies such as Australia are less inclined than women to take an active role in maintaining their health. They are also less likely to seek professional help for problems, particularly those of an emotional nature. Some of the social and cultural reasons for this include:
The Western definition of masculinity includes strength and silence. Men may feel that it is a sign of weakness or ‘femininity’ to seek help.
Males, particularly teenagers, tend to act as if they are invulnerable. This can lead to destructive behaviours such as drug or alcohol binges, or reckless driving.
Women are more likely to have regular contact with doctors because of reproductive issues such as menstrual periods, contraception and pregnancy. Men don’t have a similar reason that requires them to regularly see a doctor.
One out of every six Australian men suffers from depression at any given time. Statistics include:
Teenagers and the elderly are particularly at risk.
Male depression is associated with an increased risk of health disorders such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Men are likely to resort to destructive behaviours in an attempt to deal with depression.
Depressed men are twice as likely as depressed women to abuse alcohol and drugs. Men often try to manage their symptoms of depression by using alcohol and other drugs, which make the symptoms worse.
Depression is a known high-risk factor for suicide. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, men of all ages suicide at a higher rate than women