Navigating Men’s Health: The Role of the Internet

During the COVID-19 pandemic, more men died compared to women, despite similar levels of impact. Genetic differences may play a role, but societal pressures and unhealthy behaviours also contribute. Men often engage in behaviours like drinking and smoking to conform to masculine ideals, while career pressures may cause them to neglect their health due to time constraints and fear of taking time off work. As a result, men may delay seeking healthcare until their conditions worsen.

Men’s health faces challenges related to time, societal pressures, and lack of education. Studies reveal a lack of awareness among men about their health concerns, with worries that may not align with their actual risk factors. For example, younger men worry more about testicular cancer, despite the higher risk of occurring later in life. Additionally, the societal stigma around breast cancer may contribute to younger men’s concerns about it. These challenges reflect how societal expectations and stigmas affect men’s healthcare experiences.


This year’s Men’s Health Week is focused on the internet’s role in this, as we have highlighted the main challenges let’s see where the internet might fit in.


The Internet’s Benefits in Men’s Health:


Access to information: The internet provides men with easy access to reliable health information, empowering them to understand their risks, recognise symptoms, and take preventive measures. However, caution must be exercised to avoid self-diagnosis, which if incorrect can cause anxiety or even the dismissal of symptoms.


Education and awareness campaigns: The internet provides a platform for education and awareness campaigns which can help reduce stigmas, alleviate societal pressures, and encourage men to seek healthcare when needed.


Flexibility and convenience: Online services, apps, and tele-health offer flexible healthcare options that fit into men’s busy schedules, ensuring access to care without sacrificing work time.


Enhanced communication: Negative experiences with GPs are generally what stops men from attending future appointments. Online platforms facilitate communication between men and healthcare professionals. This means men who struggle with face-to-face communication can use online forms to express their concerns, leading to more informed and structured face-to-face appointments.


Comfort and privacy: Certain tests and consultations can be conducted online, allowing men to overcome discomfort or embarrassment associated with clinical environments.


Drawbacks of the Internet


Internet addiction: Men, like other groups, may be susceptible to internet addiction, particularly gaming. This can increase the risk of engaging in unhealthy habits such as lack of exercise and sleep which can negatively affect both mental and physical health.


Distraction and time management: Mobile phones and online activities can be distracting, affecting time management and relationships, and potentially hindering men from engaging in health-related behaviours.


CAN DO Challenge


The Men’s Health Forum’s CAN DO Challenge encourages men to prioritise their well-being through connection, physical activity, mindfulness, learning, and acts of kindness. Each day offers specific activities to inspire men to take proactive steps toward better health.

Connect – connect with other people (eg. call an old friend or family member)

(Be) Active – move your body (eg. go for a run/walk/swim/dance/etc)

Notice – take notice of the environment around you (eg. turn off your phone for an hour and look around)

Discover – learn something new (eg. read a book you haven’t read before)

Offer (or give) – do something for someone else (eg. volunteer for a local community group)


For more resources and information visit


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