Press Release

Minister Wallace Publishes A National Men’s Health Policy

Ms Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Health Promotion and Food Safety, published a National Men’s Health Policy today, Wednesday 28th January, 2009 in the Department’s Offices, Hawkins House.

This Policy has been developed by the Department of Health and Children, in conjunction with the Health Service Executive and a wide group of stakeholders. The aim of the policy is to promote optimum health and well-being for all men in Ireland while integrating a health promotion and preventative approach in the delivery of services.

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness, and indeed concern, about the burden of ill health experienced by men in Ireland. Male life expectancy is almost five years lower than female life expectancy and men in Ireland have higher death rates for most of the leading causes of death across the lifespan. The burden of ill health and mortality is borne, in particular, by men from the lower socioeconomic groups. These men are up to 6 times more likely to die from the leading causes of death than men from the highest socioeconomic group.

The policy was developed following an extensive period of research and a nationwide consultation process. The main focus of the policy is to highlight the need for a specific focus on “men” as service users with particular needs.

“This National Men’s Health Policy will be a hugely important resource to all those working in the area of men’s health. It addresses the different challenges that men face in managing their health, and provides a blueprint to service providers across a number of sectors to support men to take increased responsibility for their own health. The need for an increased policy focus on men’s health is now, all the more pressing, as we face into a difficult economic climate” said Dr Noel Richardson, co-author of the Policy.

“The National Men’s Health Policy aligns itself with existing policies and strategies and identifies how the men’s health agenda can be advanced through these existing policies across Government Departments and through the services provided by the Health Service Executive.” Minister Wallace said. ”Implementing these policies and strategies will be examined taking into account the current economic climate and we will be looking at ways of using available resources to their maximum benefit. However, the body of evidence and policy direction provided in the Policy is worth disseminating to stakeholders working in the area of men’s health.”

Dr Noel Richardson, Centre for Men’s Health Research and Training, Institute of Technology Carlow, is co-author of the Men’s Health Policy, and is available to take queries from the media in relation to the policy. Dr Richardson can be contacted at Noel.richardson@itcarlow.ie or by phone at 087-2860152

A copy of the publication can be viewed here