Movember: Promoting men’s health until we’re blue in the face
Movember is a month-long campaign in November that calls for people around the world to grow their facial hair to bring light to a serious issue: Men are dying on average 4.5 years earlier than women, and for reasons that are largely preventable. The campaign aims to "change the face of men's health" by raising awareness of the dangers of health conditions – both mental and physical – that go unchecked and untreated, for men of all ages.
Regence is joining the cause by bringing color to the Movember campaign – blue, to be specific. All month, Regence is challenging employees and people across the health care system to don blue mustaches to spark conversations about men’s mental health. By normalizing discussions about mental health struggles and encouraging prevention, early intervention and health promotion, we can raise the (handle)bar for men to be proactive about their health and feel supported by those around them.
Mental health: A silent crisis among men
Too often, men overlook their mental health needs and are conditioned from an early age to suppress emotions. While women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression and more likely to attempt suicide, men account for nearly 80% of suicide deaths. What can we do to help men from reaching that point?
Men are more likely to deny mental health issues, self-monitor symptoms and self-treat with alcohol or other substances. This often means many men are struggling with mental distress in silence and less likely to seek help. The longer the conditions go untreated, the more severe the problem becomes.
If you suspect a loved one is suffering, don’t be afraid to ask about their mental health. You can also watch for verbal and behavioral warning signs that often precede suicides. These warning signs can include talking about feeling trapped or being a burden to others; or withdrawing from friends and giving away important possessions. But friends, family members and coworkers can help by creating safe spaces for men to have conversations about their mental health, share their own struggles and reframe seeking help as not a vulnerability, but the brave thing to do.
Physical health: Routine screenings can identify cancers unique to men
About 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. But it is highly treatable if caught early. Not everyone experiences symptoms, and many times prostate cancer is first detected during a routine check-up. Older men, Black men and those with a family history of prostate cancer have a greater risk of developing prostate cancer. Men who are concerned that they might be at risk should talk to their doctor.
Another highly treatable cancer if detected is testicular cancer. It is most frequently diagnosed among men ages 20 to 34, but it can affect males of any age. Regular self-exams and screening during routine physicals are recommended.
Maintain your health as well as your whiskers
Even if you feel fine, it is important to schedule an annual physical to stay ahead of diseases and conditions that don't always have symptoms. A primary care provider (PCP) can act as a trusted partner who has a holistic view of your health—and can help with any questions, challenges or health issues that come up. For many people, the primary care setting is also the front door to getting behavioral health care. Mental well-being, preventive care and early detection are key to long-term health.
We’re here to help
If you have questions about managing men’s health or finding a PCP, sign in to regence.com and chat online or call us at the number on the back of your member ID card. Regence health plans cover most in-network preventive health care at 100%. Included are lab tests, procedures, important age-appropriate screenings, immunizations and certain types of counseling.
Regence can also help you find the behavioral health care option that fits your needs. Most of our health plans offer virtual mental health treatment options from providers such as AbleTo Therapy+, Doctor on Demand, Talkspace, Charlie Health and more. No referral is needed – you can visit the provider’s website and fill out their intake form for an appointment.
Regence also offers access to traditional and virtual substance use disorder treatment providers such as Boulder Care, Eleanor Health (WA only) and Hazelden Betty Ford. If your employer has an employee assistance program (EAP), your use of the program is confidential and at low or no cost.
We encourage Regence members to visit these providers’ websites or call our customer service team at the number listed on your member ID card to verify which virtual care and traditional behavioral health options are available through your health plan.
If you or someone you know is in a crisis, get help immediately. You can call 911 or call or text the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors who will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if needed.