Through the course of everyday life men and women experience equal numbers of mental and psychological challenges on average. However, traditionally men are less prone to seek assistance, which may mean a shorter and more difficult life when compared to the average lifespan and quality of life of a woman. Fortunately, through the use of new technology these factors are changing.
According to the ”Forum for Mænds Sundhed ” (Forum for Men’s Health), which conducts research into the wellbeing of Danish men, Danish men live an average of 3-13 years less than Danish women. Additionally, they are more prone to serious illness. This is due to factors such as discovering the illness too late and healthcare services not being properly attentive toward the particular needs of men. Only half of men who have suffered depression have been in treatment for it.
It needs to be made easy and accessible
In order to get men to act on the signals, it is essential that they have the opportunity to seek assistance in a simple and easily accessible way. On December 1st Svend Aage Madsen, chief psychologist at Rigshospitalet, said on Danish radio station P1:
”We know that it is more difficult for men to seek assistance. When you contact the men in new ways and through new methods than we usually employ, it is actually possible to get them to see a psychologist. Many men have a difficult time communicating to themselves that they need assistance because of how they are feeling. Furthermore, we know that it is more difficult for men to ask for assistance. In this particular instance it is important there is an easy and accessible online access to assistance. It has to be quick and easily accessible and you might have someone, who asks questions about how you are feeling in good, specific ways.”
New technology gets men to act
With a proactive health app, which is available 24/7 in the phone most of us carry in our pockets, and with simple, effective question framing, it is possible today to catch men who feel unwell at an earlier stage and assist them. By initiating contact in new ways, statistics show they are as likely as women–that is to say they account for roughly half of cases, to request a call with a psychologist about their immediate wellbeing.
Howdy is short for “How do you do,” and is based on the WHO’s question framing for questions on wellbeing, which is the most utilised question framing internationally. It consists of 5 questions, which take approximately 30 seconds to answer and indicate how well you feel. If the person does not feel well, they are contacted by one of Howdy’s psychologists, who are specialised in providing immediate counseling for better wellbeing and potentially initiate further actions to ensure a more sustainable wellbeing in the long term.
Chief psychologist at Howdy, Peter Richter, says: “There can be many reasons why men don’t reach out for assistance as often as women do, but when they use our app they get the “friendly nudge” to talk with one of our psychologists. At the end of the call we often hear that they don’t really think other people should fix it for them, but through our conversations they learn they still need to “fix it” themselves, but that it might be helpful to get inspiration and sparring with us in order to create their own solution to better wellbeing.”