Expert Opinion

Mens Health Week 2013

Professor Alan White, Professor of Men's Health at Leeds Met, gives us his thoughts on the forthcoming Men's Health Week, which runs from 10 to 16 June and aims to tackle stigma in men’s mental health and promote mental well-being and help-seeking in men.

This year’s Men’s Health Week is a strange one for me. Throughout all the previous weeks I have been representing the Men’s Health Forum as it’s Chair, but after 12 years in that role I have now passed the baton onto Dr John Chisholme, who is already doing an excellent job. Thankfully, I am still strongly involved with the Forum in my new role as a Patron and I am looking forward to seeing what that involves over the coming months.

The week starts with the launch of the Week at Southwark Cathedral. The focus of the Week this year is on Men’s Mental Health under the banner of ‘You only live once so talk to someone’. In response to the growing number of men who are committing suicide, the aim of the week is to tackle stigma in men’s mental health and promote mental well-being and help-seeking in men.

That the launch is being held in Southwark is very appropriate as the Forum has been working for the past year in Lambeth and Southwark on a major project to determine what services the men in those boroughs need to improve their health and wellbeing.  This work is being done in collaboration with our Centre for Men’s Health here at Leeds Met and overseen by Professor Steve Robertson along with Gary Raine and Steve Zwolinsky (who has commuting to London every week to work on this important project).

From London I travel to Brighton for the National Cancer Intelligence Network’s (NCIN) Cancer Outcomes Conference. This is an important event for men’s health as I have been working with the statistics team at Cancer Research UK and the NCIN to develop our work started with our ‘men’s excess burden of cancer’ report. We have been carrying out an analysis of the incidence and mortality rates over the past 40 years to see what trends have been emerging with regard to men’s relative risk of cancer. Some of this work is being presented in a joint poster at the conference. I have also been invited to present a keynote presentation: ‘Closing the gender gap in cancer – the problem with men’ in a plenary session.

Friday morning is a dash back up to Leeds for the Men’s Health Week Conference: Engaging politicians for Men’s Health, which has been jointly organised between the Men’s Health Forum, the Parliamentary Outreach Team and the Centre for Men’s Health at Leeds Met. The event sees Baroness Masham of Ilton, All Party Parliamentary Group, Men’s Health and Cllr Lisa Mulherin, Chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, joins me to explore how we can get more attention onto the health needs of men.

This conference is a good opportunity for me to share the findings of the new ‘ Role of Men in Gender Equality’ report which I have been involved in producing for the European Commission. It is great that Gary Raine, from our team, and I were brought onto this important report as the UK National Experts and to write the section on men and their health.


  • Thomson CS, Howard T, Wickenden M, Shelton J, White AK (2013) Men are more likely to develop cancer and to die from it – do we know why? An exploration of the burden of cancer among males in the UK. CRUK, NCIN, MHF, Leeds Met Poster NCIN Conference Brighton 11 -14 JuneWhite A, Thomson C, Howard T (2013) Excess cancer burden in men. London, CRUK
  • (2013) Closing the gender gap in cancer – the problem with men. Keynote presentation. NCIN Conference Brighton 11 -14 June Study on the Role of Men in Gender Equality, prepared for European Commission, edited by Elli Scambor, Katarzyna Wojnicka, Nadja Bergmann, Consortium led by L&R Social Research, with Dissens, abz*austria, INBAS, Written by Sophia Belghiti-Mahut, Nadja Bergmann, Marc Gärtner, Jeff Hearn, Øystein Gullvåg Holter, Majda Hrženjak, Ralf Puchert, Christian Scambor, Elli Scambor, Hartwig Schuck, Victor Seidler, Alan White & Katarzyna Wojnicka, 2013

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