When it comes to talking about health, three nursing students are turning the spotlight on TRU men with one simple request: start making little changes to your everyday health.
In collaboration with the Wellness Centre and the TRU Geek Club, Daniel Stewart, Derek Brown and Aman Patel, are hosting a Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament starting at 5 p.m. in the TRU Residence and Conference Centre on Sunday March 29.
The campaign is focused on mental health, nutrition, sexual health and drugs and alcohol, as part of a project for the group’s Community Development course. As men themselves, the trio wanted to create a men’s health presence on campus.
“Especially around our age group, the rates of male suicide are a lot higher [than females]. Males that are obese at this age are exponentially more likely to have those same health problems later on in life – their health doesn’t usually improve,” Brown said.
In 2009, there were 3,890 suicides in Canada and of that 2,989 were males, according to Statistics Canada. This is roughly three times higher than females, who accounted for 901 suicides.
“It’s difficult to get men to access help, they’re the least likely to especially when they’re young,” Stewart said. “Just getting men to come show up, and get this information out to them is what we’re trying to do.”
The group has also leaned on Jeff Conners, a counsellor and health educator who has a private practice in Kamloops.
According to Conners, a large portion of men’s health problems are mostly a reflection of our culture.
“Thirty to 50 per cent maybe has to do with the Y chromosome and a large part of that is because men do not go out and seek healthcare or very much underutilise the healthcare system,” Conners said.
For Conners’ graduate degree in social work, he held a forum on men’s health in Kamloops. Of the 15 people who showed up, 14 of them were women.
“It’s very common that they are more interested in men’s health then men are,” Conners said. Knowing the challenge of encouraging men to get involved in their own health, the group wants to keep the campaign accessible.
“Don’t make a big change, make something small and doable,” Brown suggests. “Those kinds of changes can have the best results for men in the long term.”
The group is looking forward to the turnout for this first campaign event, but also hoping to begin something that future nursing students can takeover in years to follow.
“They want us to leave some sort of legacy behind for the Wellness Centre so that next year the next group of nursing students that want to work with men’s health can pick up on where we left off and continue from that.” Patel said.