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Getting into the driver's seat … it's your health!

Supporting men to become empowered and take responsibility for their wellbeing and health; that’s our core focus at the Regional Men’s Health Initiative. We do this in light of the adverse statistics that represent men’s health in general and the notion that for a large proportion of men developing their ‘health knowledge’ is not seen as a priority. This fits with men having a more functional view of their health i.e. not seeking help until we are virtually physically impaired by the problem. We often challenge men on these points, but what does it really mean as a bloke to take responsibility for your wellbeing and health?

As blokes we take responsibility and make a lot of informed decisions throughout our lives, on a variety of things such as family, work and social issues. Why should decisions about our wellbeing and health be any different?

Too many blokes are running into trouble because we keep avoiding and putting off looking after our wellbeing and health. Just being a passive participant is not good enough, we need to be the one in the driver’s seat in all areas of our health be it physical, mental or social/ spiritual.

Taking responsibility for our wellbeing and health means becoming an active and informed healthcare consumer. It means scheduling regular service visits with our doctor and being aware of issues that affect us at certain stages of our lives, such as the potential for prostate problems as we get older. We also need to consider issues that could be common in our families (hereditary) and discuss this with the doctor in view of our lifestyle choices. It’s a bit of a generalisation but how many of us guys rely on our wives or partners for our health when it comes to our diet i.e. what food is in the house and what we eat for dinner.

Our key message “before at all gets too much, talk to a mate…” requires us to take some responsibility in that it’s important we identify who our mates are so that when the s..t hits the fan, and it does happen, we have a strategy/ plan in place to address things.

While taking charge is important it doesn’t mean you have to go it alone, we all need help sometimes. From a community educator and support worker perspective this often means my role involves walking beside someone helping to establish relevant pathways of support. It could also be simply listening to and validating people’s issues and the emotions they associate with them. We see it as, walking beside the ute with the window down but not hopping in - it’s your bus, you are the one in the driver’s seat!

Remember that it’s not your wife’s, mate’s or doctor’s health and wellbeing, it’s yours. Good health and wellbeing can only happen if and when we as blokes take responsibility!

Brenden and the Team
The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401
Phone: 08 9690 2277