Dr John Oliffe, founder and chief researcher of the University of British Columbia health research program, believes that men should not completely abandon regulatory masculinity to see the health benefits. Instead, they can tune in to their male side by thinking about what they appreciate.
Often, the men Oliffe works with will list values like “I want to be the best I can for others” or “I want to benefit others”. Once they have listed their values, Oliffe says he asks what men can do for themselves, so that they can stay true to those values.
“It’s a way of working with a male norm,” says Oliffe. “[Listing their values allows men to see] health is not a feminized problem: in reality I am the best I can be and will help me with the things I appreciate. ”
Oliffe also believes that a couple of points can help contextualize men’s health. First of all, men are not diagnosed with depression more often than women because the symptoms of depression present themselves differently in men. He says it is important that clinicians and those around men pick up symptoms such as alcohol abuse, constant anger, aggression and stopping expressing their emotions.
Second, Oliffe considers the idea that men don’t go to the doctor like a trophy. Instead, he says men may not get help because they may not realize how persistent they must be and encourages men to be more resistant in getting the medical care they need.
“This is not a short game at all: it will take some work to find the right help,” says Oliffe.
This is an exclusive web for the article “Breaking The Man Mold” from the June 2020 issue of the alive magazine.