Health Minister Applauds Success of Men’s Wellbeing Event

22nd February 2024

Health Minister Robin Swann has praised the work of Multi-Disciplinary Primary Care staff in Donaghadee Health Centre as they held a successful Men’s Health Event in Donaghadee Presbyterian Church Hall.

The vibrant event provided a platform for hundreds of local men to connect, engage and receive vital information on a range of services affecting men’s health.  They also had the opportunity to promote self-care and grooming by obtaining a free haircut from Local Barber, Lenny White who very kindly volunteered his services for the morning free-of charge.

The Multi-Disciplinary Primary Care Team in Donaghadee Health Centre is made up of a range of professionals including GPs, Social Workers, Physiotherapists and Mental Health Practitioners. The team identified the need for better outreach to men about their health so they arranged the Men’s Health Event led by the Practice Social Worker and Social Work Assistant.

The event was supported by a range of organisations including Carers Support, Dietitians and the Recovery College within the South Eastern Trust, ASCERT alcohol and drug support, Cancer Focus, Alzheimers Society, Versus Arthritis and Chest, Heart and Stroke who provided blood pressure monitoring.  Donaghadee Health Centre GP, Dr Gareth Hiscocks was on hand with health centre staff to provide a drop-in clinic for men to discuss any health concerns they had.

Local man, David Duncan who found the event to be of great benefit said, “It is great to have an event like this for men with a range of services and support all under one roof. Men don’t really talk about their health much, so to have this event in Donaghadee provided a great opportunity to get together, chat with other men and to the various organisations who came along to offer advice and support.”

Recognising the importance of proactive health initiatives, Minister Swann stated, “This event is a great initiative to encourage men who sometimes can be that bit slower coming to speak to their GP for advice.  By coming along today, they can take their time and look at the various health and well-being stalls and ask any questions they have all in a relaxed atmosphere.

“I would like to thank the professionals from Donaghadee Health Centre for organising today’s event.”

Delighted with the huge response, Director of Primary Care and Older People, Clare-Marie Dickson added, “Today has been fantastic.  This event showcases everything that is good about Multi-Disciplinary Teams working together.  It is about early intervention, prevention and working at the heart of the community.

“Having spoken to many of the men around the room, they have received a lot of education and information they would not normally be able to access.  So this event has been such a success.”

Senior Social Work Practitioner, Collette Watt who was one of the team members who arranged the event explained, “It is well known that men can be a difficult group to engage with, particularly about their health, they can be reluctant to attend their GP.  Following COVID, we have seen a rise in anxiety and mental health issues with men, so we thought this would be a good opportunity to bring a range of health promotion organisations together in an environment where they feel more comfortable.”

Highlighting the importance of promoting men’s health, GP, Dr Gareth Hiscocks commented, “Men tend not to attend their GP, so we are trying to encourage them through events like today to do so through the Multi-Disciplinary Team, community and voluntary organisations.

“There is a lot of focus on promoting female health, so it is important to also focus on men’s health, in particular prostate health, alcohol intake, smoking cessation, exercise and looking after yourself.  Men do tend to ignore these topics, so it is important to nudge them in the right direction to take control of their health.”

Delighted to be able to volunteer his services at the event, Barber Lenny White said, “I live in Millisle so it is important for me to be able to give something back to the local community.  A lot of men can be lonely, so an event like this gives them the opportunity to connect with others and to have a coffee and a chat.”