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18 Aug 2017

Men, remember to service your chassis once a year

We all know men can find it difficult to talk about feelings and emotions, and that often there isn’t much encouragement for them to take an interest in their own health and wellbeing.

The Irish Men’s Shed Association (IMSA) was set up in 2011 to tackle exactly this problem. It helps men establish community clubs — “sheds” — where members can get what they need to be healthy in a way that suits them. It’s about men taking control of their health and self-esteem.

Now the IMSA has launched a website to reach even more men. It links to more than 40 Irish health organisations, and is fun to use: visitors enter their age and then work through a tongue in cheek visual of their body, from head to toe, like they are servicing a vehicle.

As the Men’s Sheds website says, good health is based on many factors including feeling good about yourself, being productive and valuable to your community, connecting to friends and maintaining an active body and mind.

Great oral health is part of that mix, which is why there is a link to the Dental Health Foundation Ireland in the head section of the man chassis. A yearly check-up and hygiene appointment at Pembroke Dental will take care of this bit for you.

RTÉ’s Marty Morrissey, who was at the website launch in Dublin, said he was one of those men who was not too careful about his health, and had been terrified waiting for tests recently on a persistent cough. He said: “Loneliness is a terrible thing in Ireland, which is why Sheds are so important. A good friend of mine in radio is to retire in October. He doesn’t want to. You need that sense of belonging.”

Fergal Fox from the HSE said the event was a significant day for men’s health in Ireland, “the first country in the world to develop a men’s health policy”.

IMSA’s Edel Byrne said men were generally at greater risk healthwise than women and died on average four and a half years earlier. Unlike women, men usually don’t ask for help, and many men are less healthy than women, drinking more, taking more risks and suffering more from isolation, loneliness and depression.

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