Launch of Male Health Website for the Irish Men’s Sheds Association

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Speech by Minister Finian McGrath

Thursday 20th July at 10.30 am

City Hall Dublin

Ladies and Gentlemen – a very good morning to you all.

I am delighted to be here to launch the Male Health Website for the Irish Men’s Sheds Association.

Ireland was the first country to adopt a Men’s Health Policy and following a review in 2014 the National Men’s Health Action Plan was launched late last year by the Health Service Executive. This action plan supports the work of my Department in implementing Healthy Ireland which is a priority in the programme for Government. The need for a continued focus on Men’s Health is grounded in the evidence that men die younger than women and have higher death rates for the leading causes of death including accidents and suicide. Research suggests that compared to women, men have limited contact with GP’s are reluctant users of primary care services and often present late in the course of illness.

This is a trend we need to reverse over the coming years to improve the health and wellbeing of Irish men.

The establishment of the Irish  Men’s Sheds Association supports men at local  level and strive for a future in which all men have the opportunity to maintain and improve their health and wellbeing within their communities.

Today we have almost 400 sheds in the island of Ireland with at least three in each county. Each of these sheds began as a group of men getting together looking at their skills, their life experiences and the needs of their communities and reaching out to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

Men’s sheds facilitate men to reconnect with their communities reducing social isolation and a study in 2013 indicated that over 90% of men participating in a shed reported improved wellbeing and this is to be applauded.

As you are aware we have many challenges in relation to health across society including Physical Inactivity, Overweight, Tobacco use and Alcohol misuse all requiring sustained efforts at every level in society to bring about change.

The development of this dedicated male website is a key milestone in the journey of the Men’s Sheds connecting with men at many different levels and providing them with information and support in relation to their health and wellbeing and I would encourage men to go online and consider what is on offer.

The website is designed to act as a first point of contact for men and it will signpost them to relevant organisations or services relating to their individual health and wellbeing needs.

Malehealth.ie provides an invitation to men who want to inform and empower themselves in relation to their own health and wellbeing.

There are many platforms for promoting health and this website supports the Sheds for Life health programme which is aimed at supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of members in a safe environment.

To date this has included the provision of blood pressure checks with the Irish Heart Foundation, walking programmes with Get Ireland Walking, diabetes prevention programme with Diabetes Ireland and participation in the mental health See Change campaign.

I would like to acknowledge the support of the HSE in the provision of funding to support this essential work.

I would like to congratulate the Men’s Sheds Association under the leadership of Barry Sheridan and wish them every success with the future of Men’s Sheds in Ireland which I have no doubt will go from strength to strength.