International Men’s Day, observed in many countries, brought attention to pressing issues, with City Health urging men to utilise available health services. Despite the focus, statistics reveal a significant gap in men’s overall access to services. The theme for International Men’s Day 2023, ‘Zero Male Suicide,’ emphasises mental health management for men and boys. In South Africa, the World Health Organization recorded 13,774 suicides in 2019, with 10,861 involving males. City Health offers mental health services through three clinical psychologists across 15 facilities. Yet, men constitute less than a third of clients accessing the service in the past year.
Concerns persist regarding men’s general healthcare, as City Health records show only 27% of the overall headcount at primary healthcare facilities are men. A third of patients received treatment for diabetes, and 32% were treated for hypertension. Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Patricia Van der Ross, acknowledges the challenge of encouraging more men to access critical healthcare services. She emphasises the importance of changing societal narratives, advocating for everyone to know their health status, seek help, and access life-saving services.
Van der Ross highlights the introduction of mental health services in response to growing challenges faced by residents, particularly considering the alarming statistic that men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women. Since 2007, the City has opened eight substance abuse treatment facilities. Van der Ross urges men to exploit available services fully, highlighting the necessity of regular physical health checks for their well-being and families. The plea reflects a broader call to address disparities in men’s health access.
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