We’re passionate about promoting health and wellbeing for men.
The Blue Ribbon Foundation has three key objectives:
To raise awareness of male health issues
To encourage men to take positive action to safeguard their health and wellbeing, including encouraging men to visit their doctor more often.
To use the Blue Ribbon as a ‘rallying banner’ to help bring about awareness, including encouraging other male health charities to adopt the Ribbon.
In short, we empower men to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing, by providing positivity, passion and a push. We also provide links to quality information and support, and encourage men to look after themselves better.
We provide talks to men across the country about their health, write widely on men’s health issues for a variety of online and print sources, and provide a signposting service for men and their families, pointing them in the right direction towards advice and support offered by other charities or the NHS. If you would like to arrange a talk for men at your organisation, company or other venue, do please contact us.
Too many men are dying too young, or suffering from avoidable health problems, partly because of a lack of awareness of health issues and not seeking help soon enough. We’re here to push positive health and wellbeing for men, as well as encourage them to seek more support from friends, families or doctors.
It seems to be a sad fact of life that men, unlike women, are less willing to monitor their own health, take note of changes or potential problems and then discuss those issues with doctors or medical advisors. Perhaps there is a belief that if signs and symptoms are ignored, they will go away. Alternatively, maybe some consider it is not macho to keep bothering GPs about little aches, pains, lumps and bumps. This thought process could be worse if a man’s concerns are about his private parts and how they are working – or not working as the case may be. Ignoring developing problems in this area, as well as other parts of the body, can become very serious.
One example is prostate cancer. “It’s ok, it is only prostate cancer, they can treat that very easily these days” is a common misconception. It is true that the treatments for this disease are improving all the time and, when caught early enough, the success rate is very good indeed – but we need to help more men to catch it early enough!
Every year in the UK, there are more than 40,000 men diagnosed with this particular disease, and more than 10,000 of men die from it. The sad thing is, many of those deaths could have been avoided – though prostate cancer can often have no symptoms, there are risk factors that men should be aware of, as outlined in our information pages. Worse yet, men who do have symptoms and ignore pain in the genitals, peeing and erection problems, or passing blood in the urine may be dramatically shortening their lives.
There are many other conditions, both specific to men and more general, that men do not know about, or fail to take action on. While many men look after their health and wellbeing, there are many of us who ignore established health wisdom about eating healthily, not drinking too much, and staying active, leaving ourselves open to a myriad of conditions including heart disease, stroke and cancers.
Don’t believe us? Check out these important, but worrying male health facts:
Men are much more likely to die for potentially avoidable causes than woman – for example, 28% of men die from avoidable conditions like heart disease compared with 17% of women in England and Wales
Coronary heart disease kills far more men than women (1 in 6 men, compared with 1 in 10 women), and on average men develop it 7-10 years earlier.
One-third of men in England do not achieve recommended levels of physical activity.
Men are more likely than women to drink alcohol above recommended levels, smoke cigarettes and eat a poor diet. More than a third of men drink over the recommended alcohol limit.
The proportion of men who are overweight (including obese) is 65% in England, compared to 58% of women. Just under a quarter of men are obese, which is associated with a whole range of health problems.
Men visit their GP far less frequently than women – some research suggests men go only half as often as women.
All of these problems can be improved!
We feel the solution is two-fold – raising men’s awareness of health conditions, risks and symptoms, and encouraging them to take positive action about them. Working with other charities and providing links to their sources of information, we aim to make the Blue Ribbon a rallying point for male health problems and a first step for men to get the positive push they need!
So, come on men, women, wives, partners, family and friends, we are all in this together! Let’s all do our bit to improve these statistics. Ignoring any health concerns of any individual, male or female, can have a devastating effect on lots of people. Burying heads in the sand and hoping things will improve by themselves is not an option!
In addition, remember – whenever you see somebody wearing a blue ribbon, they are aware and have made a contribution towards support men’s health and wellbeing!