The Madness of Men’s Health

By Julian Lennon and Tassoula Kokkoris
One Way by Julian Lennon

Knowledge is power … and with advances in medicine, scientific research and artificial intelligence, living in today’s world we have a greater likelihood of outliving our parents and grandparents than any previous generation. That said, we all sometimes wonder how long we have to enjoy our time on the planet.

Statistically, the average lifespan of a man living in a developed country is 75. Women, however, are expected to live to be 82. GQ reported on the longevity gap earlier this year and their findings showed that many of the reasons behind the difference were preventable.

Because June is Men’s Health Awareness Month, we thought it would be a good time to discuss the various health risks men face, address the reasons behind why men are less likely to seek care and share ways that men can work toward optimal health.

What are the greatest health risks that men face?

Cardiovascular Disease

Though heart disease is a leading cause of death for both genders, men are at a greater disadvantage due to their hormones. While women have a layer of protection from progesterone and oestrogen (at least until they enter menopause), men’s testosterone levels begin decreasing after 40. Why does this matter? Because testosterone can help dilate blood vessels, which ultimately keeps blood flowing. There are also lifestyle behaviours that are more common in men than women such as smoking cigarettes and taking fewer measures to manage stress, which can elevate the risk.


While cancer affects both genders significantly, men are 4x more likely to get bladder cancer than women and 10x more likely to get esophageal cancer. Prostate cancer leads to the most deaths in men with lung and skin cancers following closely behind. While some cancers have genetic roots, many can be prevented by making sensible lifestyle choices.

Illegal Drugs

Men are more likely to experiment with and ultimately become addicted to harmful drugs, which can result in death by overdose, or a shortened life-span due to the damage caused by frequent use.

Mental Health and Suicide

Depression can be severe, and it’s devastating that anyone would take their own life, but it does happen (sadly, more often in recent years, due to a worldwide decline in mental health). The numbers indicate that it’s more likely to be a man than a woman who does so. 

The Elephant(s) in the Room

Stigmas Associated with Mental Health

Think of all the ways people commonly describe someone who is mentally unwell: crazy, deranged, cuckoo, bonkers, loony, or the more recent, “delulu”. 

In reality, mental illness can affect anyone at any time and be caused by a chemical imbalance, triggered by trauma or simply be the result of an excessive amount of stress. However, in part due to the labels above, many are hesitant to seek help for fear of the stigmas associated with diagnosis and treatment. 

Though it can be challenging for anyone to muster the courage to see a professional (i.e., a therapist) for a mental health issue, men are 12% less likely to take that step. It’s believed that societal norms, and the way many interpret masculinity, make some men feel weak when confronting their issues. Others believe they shouldn’t express their emotions, especially to strangers, for fear of being ridiculed. 

Perhaps if there was a sociological shift in the way we treat one another, and subjects were less taboo, instead of taking one’s own life, men would more often call a crisis line for assistance before their thoughts reached such a depth of darkness.

Stigmas Associated with Physical Health

Though being physically fit is something most aspire to, aside from maintaining an attractive appearance, many men don’t pay close enough mind to what their body needs to thrive.

Getting regular physical exams and preventative care from a doctor is key to staying healthy. Yet more men than women avoid getting necessary care that could keep far worse conditions from developing. Many cite fear of finding something wrong and adopt an “ignorance is bliss” attitude; others feel they’re tough enough to overcome anything without spending the time or money to investigate a random pain or minor symptom. A survey by Healthline also mentioned the masculinity factor—that men don’t want to appear vulnerable in any scenario, so they’ll put themselves at unnecessary risk to avoid sensitive discussions like the ones they may be forced to have in a doctor’s office.

How can men overcome these barriers to good health?

Get Screened

A list of the top screenings men should regularly get (and the age at which they should begin) can be found on


While anytime you move your body, you’ll likely benefit, there are specific exercises suggested for men to maintain ideal muscle mass and weight. Read through the list at U.S. News.

Eat Well

The BBC suggests a balanced diet for men, which includes guidance on portion sizes, ratio of carbs, proteins and fats, and how many meals to consume throughout the day.

Limit Alcohol

The CDC lists the reasons why this is so important for men’s health.

Stop Smoking (or Better Yet, Don’t Start)

The Pan American Health Association offers 100 reasons why men shouldn’t smoke.

Manage Stress

One of the best ways to help maintain good mental health (in addition to the physical benefits) is to get outside and spend time in nature.

If you’re a man reading this, please know temporary discomfort is always preferable to irreversible damage. And if you’re a woman reading this, please encourage the men in your life to take good care of themselves and allow a safe space to discuss any concerns they may have about their health.

Photo by Julian Lennon. To view over 12,000 of his photos, follow @julespicturepalace on Instagram.

To donate to our Education & Health area of giving, start here.

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Corilee Lantz
Corilee Lantz
June 24, 2024 21:47

Your always looking out for everyone Jules much love n respect from Montana and a Lupus fighter thank you for that also!’

Cathy Miller
Cathy Miller
June 25, 2024 22:42
Reply to  Corilee Lantz

Very informative. Good job you guys. Good health is very important for everyday functions. Thyroid disease is very serious thyroid controls your whole body your hair your skin your heart rate your muscle tone it goes on and on.There are medications that don’t always work everybody is different. Male and Female can both be effected. It doesn’t stop then it’s connected with autoimmune disorders. It would be nice to have a good cure for this debilitating disease.

Brenda Lovell
Brenda Lovell
June 24, 2024 22:20

Very well written…. strong/flexible public health care systems, social cohesion, walking/nature, raising children w/ gender parity, less fast food, living a simpler lifestyle are positive contributors

Diana Cotton
Diana Cotton
June 24, 2024 22:26

If this can save one man’s life, it is worth every word as men tend to put off yearly exams and psychological advice. Very good advice

June 25, 2024 00:25

Yes, it takes education at very turn to overcome old cultural milieus. Well stated.

Rachel Garcia
Rachel Garcia
June 25, 2024 01:01

This topic explores so many issues among men that are currently stigmatized by our culture at large. My cousin recently committed suicide due to untreated depression. Thank you for bringing the darkness to the light of awareness….nothing is better than this for saving one more life.🙏

June 25, 2024 07:36

Thank you for that article. My brother took his own life years ago. He was the last person you would expect to do that. We never knew he had any mental issues. If he had talked to somebody, maybe we would have had him a little longer.

June 25, 2024 17:54

Excellent information with concise resources to help everyone – not just men live a productive & long life. Thank You Julian Lennon and Tassoula Kokkoris. An example of using power, prestige and wealth to do the “greater good” in these challenging times. We need more like you. Please note that the issue of suicide is an increasing global issue and many who are feeling hopeless and alone need to know there are resources available to them. In the US – 988 is the 24 hour crisis line number for those who need to talk and received help. Many thanks to… Read more »

Jennelle White
Jennelle White
June 25, 2024 22:32

Julian and Tassoula, this was a great informative article about men’s health and emotional well- being. Being a Gero/Psychiatric, Behavioral Health RN, your article touched on many key facts that need and should be addressed. It was inspiring and encourages men to take a look at some key points in the article that they should address for health and well-being. Very enlightening article and helpful.

christine farmer
christine farmer
June 27, 2024 13:00

I find your feelings of why men suffer with mental health problems are very true. Sometimes things that happen in their early life affect them for always. Being fearful of abandonment is one of them.

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