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Counselling Helpline for Male Victims of Domestic, Sexual and Coercive Behaviour on 028 7122 6530 on Weekdays 9:00 – 16:00


National Lottery Community Fund – Boost for familes in the Northwest

Men’s Action Network is one of three projects working with families in the north west that have been awarded grants totalling £2,091,251 from the programme. Other projects are working with families with children who have children with sight loss, autism and physical disabilities. (a full list of grants awarded can be found here). Men’s Action Network has been awarded £698,767 to work with Fermanagh Women’s Aid on the five-year Fathering Families project. It is supporting families who may have experienced issues including poverty, separation, divorce, addiction and domestic violence in the Derry/LondonderryEnniskillenDungivenMagherafelt and Omagh areas to be healthier, happier and stronger. The project is working with a range of other agencies and activities include parenting and communication skills, peer support, play and art therapy and signposting to other services.

For media enquiries, please contact Lucy Gollogly at the National Lottery Community Fund Press Office.
Direct line: 02890 551 432
Website: tnlcommunityfund/funding/northern-ireland
Twitter: @TNLComFund
Facebook: facebook/TNLCommunityFund/

TURN 2 US – Fighting Poverty

Turn 2 Us is a national charity providing practical help to people who are struggling financially.

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Turn2Us provides a free, accessible website that can help you find appropriate resources of financial help, quickly and easily, based on your particular needs and circumstances.

Trun2Us is part of the national charity, Elizabeth Finn Care.

Male Menu – join the conversation about topics directly affecting men

Male Menu offers informative articles under six different categories and their TALK section is designed to encourage conversations. Whilst their site is focused on male specific topics they hope females will also browse and engage on behalf of men in their life.

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Men’s Health Week 2020..


International Men’s Health Week (MHW) always begins on the Monday before Father’s Day and ends on Father’s Day itself. During 2020, it will run from Monday 15th until Sunday 21st June.

It is celebrated in many European countries, as well as in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and a number of other places worldwide. The overall aims of MHW are to:

  1. Heighten awareness of preventable health problems for males of all ages.
  2. Support men and boys to engage in healthier lifestyle choices / activities.
  3. Encourage the early detection and treatment of health difficulties in males.

But why is there a need to hold a Men’s Health Week? … Males constitute almost 50% of the population on the island of Ireland and, therefore, deserve to have a gender lens focused upon their specific health needs. Research shows that these men experience a disproportionate burden of ill-health and die too young …

  • Local men die almost four years younger than women do.
  • Males have higher death rates than females for almost all of the leading causes of death and at all ages.
  • Men’s poorer lifestyles are responsible for a high proportion of chronic diseases.
  • Late presentation to health services can lead to a large number of problems becoming untreatable …

Indeed, while many of these conditions are preventable, their prevalence amongst men may, in fact, rise in the future.

However, Men’s Health Week 2020 will also take place against a backdrop of the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic. Worldwide, this virus is having a major and disproportionate impact upon men. It has caused uncertainty, disruption and a sense of fear for many of us. For others, it has had even more devastating consequences. These are really challenging times.

Despite this, the past few months have also shown us the best side of males – when the vast majority have answered the call and did their bit to ‘flatten the curve’, offer practical help to others, home-school their children, strengthen community spirit, show positive leadership, help to keep essential services running, and protect vulnerable people. We should celebrate this contribution.

The celebration of Men’s Health Week on the island of Ireland is funded by the Health Service Executive’s Health Promotion and Improvement and the Public Health Agency. Throughout the week, everyone is asked to ‘BE PART OF THE SOLUTION’ and to do something realistic and practical – no matter how small – to help to RESTORE SOME BALANCE and stability in everyone’s lives. Rarely has this been more needed!

So, are you up for the challenge? …

Please use the links below to find out everything that you need to know about MHW 2020 …

Would you prefer to HEAR about Men’s Health Week rather that READ about it?

Why focus upon ‘Restoring the Balance’?

The Impact of COVID-19 upon Men

Who can be involved in this week?

Planning Group for Men’s Health Week 2020

Poster for Men’s Health Week 2020

Men’s Health Week 2020 Graphics Pack

‘Challenges and Choices’ Man Manual

How to keep up-to-date with the latest MHW 2020 news

What can I do to mark Men’s Health Week 2020?

Raise the profile of MHW 2020 – Get Tweeting / Posting with a ready-made pool of content!

Tell others about your Men’s Health Week 2020 Activities

Men’s Health Week 2020 – A Toolbox for Action


Would you like to HEAR about Men’s Health Week 2020 (the why, when, who, where and what), rather than have to READ about it? … If so, click on the play button below to listen to Lorcan Brennan (Men’s Development Network) speaking to Colin Fowler (Men’s Health Forum in Ireland) about the week:


Special thanks go to Finian Murray, from HSE Promotion and Improvement, for hosting / recording this conversation.

Why focus upon ‘Restoring the Balance’?
Not too long ago, we were unaware of the full extent of men’s poor health status and the specific health issues that they must deal with. However, this is no longer the case. In recent years, a broad range of research has highlighted the health challenges which face men in Ireland and further afield. For example …

Men’s Health in Ireland (PDF, 2.13MB)

Getting Inside Men’s Health (PDF, 1.5MB)

Men’s Health in Northern Ireland: Tackling the Root Causes of Men’s [ill] Health (PDF, 965KB)

A Report on the all-Ireland Young Men and Suicide Project (PDF, 2.73MB)

Facing the Challenge – The Impact of Recession and Unemployment on Men’s Health in Ireland (PDF, 1.9MB)

A Report on the Excess Burden of Cancer among Men in the Republic of Ireland (PDF, 2.95MB )

The State of Men’s Health in Europe (PDF, 3.63MB)

Middle-Aged Men and Suicide in Ireland (PDF, 4.49MB) …

Although the health of men in Ireland is poor, it can be improved in many significant ways. A wide range of innovative and positive work has already taken place to support the health needs of men and boys: Ireland was the first country in the world to have a National Men’s Health Policy which has now been succeeded by the Healthy Ireland – Men Action Plan; the ‘Engage’ Men’s Health Training Programme has influenced how services and structures support males; pioneering approaches have been developed and tested which provide models for improving men’s health; new men’s health / support groups are evolving across the island of Ireland … Much has been achieved, but there is still room for improvement.

Of course, men, themselves, need to play a central role in taking control of their health and wellbeing. But men’s health is not just an issue for individual men. While it is crucial for men to take responsibility for looking after themselves, their health can often be determined by other factors outside of their personal control. Thus, there is also a need for policy-makers, service providers, and society as a whole to recognise the role that they need to play, and to do something practical about it. This will require everyone to focus attention upon the men and boys around us.

2020 has been an exceptional year in many ways. As the island of Ireland emerges from, what might be, the first wave of COVID-19, individuals across the country are trying to re-build their lives, relationships, jobs, finances, physical health, emotional resilience, connections, routines etc. Some people are still living with trauma and bereavement. Others are having to re-focus their priorities and to find new ways of living. Everyone’s mental health has been impacted to some degree, and there is a need to find some new form of stable, realistic and relevant equilibrium – at least in the short-term. However, as these have been almost unprecedented times, this process is likely to be slow, gradual and incremental.

This is why the theme chosen for Men’s Health Week 2020 is ‘Restoring the Balance’. To make this happen, everyone needs to ‘Be Part of the Solution’.

The Impact of COVID-19 Upon Men
The Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic is having a major impact upon men. While there is a broadly similar incidence and prevalence to women, men:

  • are faster at developing serious illness;
  • recover slower from the virus;
  • have a higher death rate.

There is also a broad range of mental health and social impacts upon men and the wider community which are a cause for concern.

To shine some light on this situation, the Engage National Men’s Health Training Programme invited Alan White, Emeritus Professor of Men’s Health, to present his insights into why this might be so via a one hour online webinar titled ‘Men and COVID-19’. This took place on Wednesday 13th May 2020. Alan gave a presentation on the current evidence, and there was an opportunity for the audience to ask questions afterwards.

You can view a video of the webinar below or, to see it on a full screen, visit:

Who can be involved in this week?
Men’s Health Week (MHW) gives everyone (health professionals, service providers, youth groups, sporting bodies, community organisations, employers, Churches, policy makers, family workers, pharmacists, academics, the media, parents, individuals …) an opportunity to encourage men and boys to take better care of their health and to seek help or treatment at an early stage.Planning Group for Men’s Health Week 2020
Men’s Health Week (MHW) 2020 in Ireland has been planned by a broad range of partners who contributed to an inter-agency all-island Planning Group. This body began meeting in November 2019, and will have ongoing communication up until the week itself.The theme for this year’s MHW (i.e. ‘Restoring the Balance’) offered an opportunity for a very wide range of agencies to participate (via both face-to-face meetings and electronic communication), and the planning process for 2020 has drawn upon the insight, expertise, support and contacts of individuals from …

Poster for Men’s Health Week 2020

To promote Men’s Health Week (MHW) 2020, a bespoke poster was designed. The ‘face’ of MHW this year is a father and son – Chris and Ethan Smylie – from Belfast.

Anyone who has ever learned to ride a bike will appreciate that it’s all about getting the balance right. However, to get the confidence to do this, you need the support and assistance of people around you that you can trust and rely on. Chris and Ethan really capture this relationship in their photograph!

Even people who don’t have time to do anything else for MHW 2020 are encouraged to print off and put up a poster (in their window or elsewhere) to let everyone know when it is taking place. Although this costs little to do, it could make a big difference to promoting the week!

‘Challenges and Choices’ Man Manual

Research clearly shows that there are many challenges to be faced when seeking to improve men’s health. However, it also highlights that men’s health can be improved in many significant ways – if the right choices are made. Men, themselves, have a key role to play in this process.

One of the most successful and sought after elements of previous Men’s Health Weeks has been the ‘Challenges and Choices’ Man Manual which is distributed free-of-charge to males throughout the whole island of Ireland. In the past, all of the hard copies of this booklet were distributed within a few weeks of their release.

The ‘Challenges and Choices’ booklet is a male-friendly, 32 page publication, which highlights ten key men’s health issues i.e. alcohol, food, physical activity, smoking, stress, blood pressure, sexually transmitted diseases, skin cancers, back care and help-seeking behaviour. It was written by leading men’s health expert Dr Ian Banks (internationally acclaimed men’s health author, President of the European Men’s Health Forum, the British Medical Association’s Spokesperson on Men’s Health, and a resident of Northern Ireland).

This Manual: issues a realistic and practical challenge to improve the reader’s health in each area of concern; provides a reason for why it is important to consider taking action in relation to each issue; offers three possible choices for what actions can be taken to combat each condition; signposts the reader to local sources of help and support.

During MHW 2020, 15,000 updated copies of this publication will be made available to men throughout the island of Ireland. These were funded by the Health Service Executive in the Republic of Ireland and the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland.

In the Republic of Ireland, hard copies of the Man Manual can be ordered online via the website at

In Northern Ireland, hard copies of the Man Manual can be ordered from Colin Fowler in the Men’s Health Forum in Ireland using the contact form at:

How to keep up-to-date with the latest MHW 2020 news


Everyone is invited to keep up-to-date with the latest news on Men’s Health Week (MHW) 2020 by checking out the MHW Facebook page ( and Twitter feed ( Viewers are encouraged to click on the ‘LIKE’ / ‘FOLLOW’ buttons, and to send these links to all their friends.

People who are into social media, are also asked to Tweet about MHW using the hashtag #MensHealthWeek

What can I do to mark Men’s Health Week 2020?

Everyone can do something to support and celebrate Men’s Health Week (MHW) each year.

The focus for MHW 2020 (i.e. ‘Restoring the Balance’) lends itself to a wide range of ways to mark this occasion. However, there is no need to stick rigidly to this particular theme. Anything which promotes the week and encourages men and boys to lead healthier lifestyles, to be more aware of preventable health problems, and to seek early detection and treatment for health difficulties is very welcome!

Raise the profile of Men’s Health Week 2020 – Get Tweeting!

Men’s health issues and needs are numerous and complicated. So much so, that we could probably assign a different one to highlight on each day of the year and still have an outstanding pool of ones to explore! However, when preparing for Men’s Health Week (MHW) 2020, the all-island Planning Group felt that it would be useful to draw attention to a specific theme on each day during the week, as well as on the days leading up to it. These are …

  • Friday 12th June: It’s Almost Time – Men’s Health Week: Restoring the Balance
  • Saturday 13th June: Staying Connected During and After Loss – maintains our sense of balance
  • Sunday 14th June: Food – it’s easy to strike a balance
  • Monday 15th June: Mental Fitness – it’s always a balancing act
  • Tuesday 16th June: Heart Health – have you got the balance right?
  • Wednesday 17th June: Cancer Prevention – is about creating balance
  • Thursday 18th June: Quit Smoking – restore the body’s balance
  • Friday 19th June: Drink Less – get the balance right
  • Saturday 20th June: Physical Activity – restores your overall balance
  • Sunday 21st June: Fathers – help their children to become balanced adults

Social media (especially Facebook and Twitter) has become a powerful tool for organisations to spread their message. During Men’s Health Week 2020, everyone is encouraged to ‘Post’ and ‘Tweet’ about it and, when possible, to use the hashtag: #MensHealthWeek

For those people who would like to support MHW 2020 using their own social media channels – but who don’t have the time, energy or knowledge to develop their own messages – there is a document which offers a range of Posts and Tweets that you can simply cut-and-paste from. There are lots of message options presented for each day of MHW, and these relate to the theme for that day. Everyone is invited to use them all, or simply pick and choose the ones that suit themselves / their organisation / their location. Click here to download these suggestions.

Even loading a few things to websites / Facebook pages / Twitter feeds / Instagram / other social media platforms will make a huge difference to publicising the week. This is, therefore, an easy and free way to show support for MHW.

Tell others about your Men’s Health Week 2020 Activities
The Men’s Health Forum in Ireland (MHFI) always seeks to promote the details of activities / happenings that are being held throughout Ireland during Men’s Health Week (MHW) on this website. It is hoped that this will help everyone to find out what is happening during the week, where it will be taking place, and how – if possible – to join in. It also gives some recognition and publicity to all those groups across the island that are doing something for and with men.

COVID-19 has meant that many traditional MHW face-to-face events (e.g. health checks, conferences, launches, games, seminars, competitions, workshops, lunches, training courses, performances, displays, health fairs …) cannot take place this year. However, many groups across Ireland are being creative and innovative about how they can engage with / support men.

Whatever it is you are doing, if you would like to have the details included on our website, please get in touch.


Below are a number of links to other sites that will give you a flavour and insight to just some of the work ongoing in this field.
Please note that the value-base and content of these sites is not necessarily endorsed by Men’s Action Network.

Fathering & Family Life

Amen – helpline and support for male victims of domestic abuse in Ireland.
Child Maintenance Choices – free and confidential information to help separated parents to make informed choices about child maintenance in Northern Ireland. – Irish website for fathers and fathers-to-be covering a broad range of issues.
Dad Info – UK website providing information on a spectrum of topics.
Families Need Fathers – concerned with the problems of maintaining a child’s relationship with both parents during and after family breakdown in the UK.
Fatherhood Institute – UK website featuring research, reports, practice issues and resources.
Fathers and Families: Research and Reflection on Key Questions – Department of Health and Children Report published in 2000.
Home-Start Northern Ireland – network of trained volunteers offering practical support to parents who are struggling to cope.
Men in Limerick Experiencing Separation (MILES) – support group for men who are coping with the effects of a relationship breakdown or who are separated from their family.
Men’s Advisory Project (MAP) – counselling for male victims of domestic abuse in Northern Ireland, and offers anger management support.
Parenting Forum Northern Ireland – highlights the needs of parents in order to influence policy, planning and service delivery.
Parentline – provides information and a listening ear to parents in the Republic of Ireland.
Parents Advice Centre – offers a free and confidential helpline for parents in Northern Ireland, parenting education courses, and a range of articles on parenting issues.
Sands Northern Ireland – support to parents and families bereaved by stillbirth and neonatal death.
SENAC – independent advice and advocacy service to parents of children with special educational needs in Northern Ireland.
The Ultimate Guide to Addiction and Suicide by Paul Clarke at Ocean Recovery Centre.

Family & Mental Health

Addiction and the Adopted Child – Help you understand the theories behind increased addiction rates among adopted children.
Does Your Tween Need Therapy? – A guide to when and how to find help for your tween or teen.
The Emotional and Psychological Effects of Cancer – The mental side effects of cancer treatment.
When Grief Becomes a Mental Health Issue – Several things people can do when grief becomes a mental health issue.
Becoming a Happy Empty Nester – What’s the impact of empty nest syndrome?
Understanding Mental Health Issues in Seniors – An aging body and mind require specialised attention.
Helping a Friend or Family Member with Depression or Bipolar Disorder – How you can help your loved one and yourself.

Caring for your Whole Self

A Healthy Home is a Happy Home – How to Optimise Your Home for Healthy, Stress-free Living.
How to start a healthy lifestyle – Remove all the obstacles standing between you and your fitness goals.
How to Detox After Quitting Smoking – 9 Simple Tips.
A Personal Action Plan For Addiction Recovery – Natural recovery, biological, psychological, social, and spiritual options.
Dental Health and Addiction – How Different Substances Affect Oral Wellness
Promoting Mental Health at Home – How to Design the Perfect Meditation Room.
Guide on Handling Coughs and Colds in the Elderly -Timely and important information about colds and flu, why elderly people are at a higher risk of infection, and how influenza and the common cold can lead to more serious health complications in older adults.

Mental Health & Sleep

What Sleep Deprivation Does To Your Brain – Everything You Need to Know About Sleep Deprivation.
Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sleep Disorders – Sleep Help for Those Diagnosed With ASD.
Sleep Help’s Full Collection of Resources – Make sense of the common issues affecting your sleep.

Men & Mental Health Contacts

6 self-care tips to take care of your mental health – Try to view self-care as a necessity for the pace and pressure that life can place on us all.
7 types of mental health therapy
Addiction Prevention: 34 Essential Lesson Plans for Educators
Alternative Treatments for Addiction
AnamAire – is a non-profit partnership in the West of Ireland which offers personal development and emotional support services.
Are you thinking about suicide? – How to stay safe and find treatment.
Aware – supports those who are directly affected by depression and offers a helpline (Republic of Ireland). For Aware in Northern Ireland, click here.
Building a Support System – Why do I need a support system.
Contact Youth – free and confidential counselling to young people in Northern Ireland.
Differences Between Sadness and Clinical Depressionh – Be aware of the signs of sadness turning into depression.
Drug Prevention 4 Teens
Counselling Directory – signposting to a United Kingdom-wide network of professional counsellors. Also provides a range of statistics, useful articles, and information.
Grow – network of mental health support groups throughout Ireland.
Heads Away Just Say – mental health support and advice for young people on a range of subjects.
Is My Anxiety Normal? – being stressed and having an anxiety disorder are not the same thing.
Mental Health Ireland – national voluntary organisation offering information, events, research, networks and projects.
Minding Your Head – spot the symptoms of poor mental health and find simple ways to stay healthy.
National Office for Suicide Prevention – research, training and reports in this field.
National Suicide Research Foundation – research evidence which contributes to the prevention of suicidal behaviour in Ireland.
Recover – information and resources for people coping with schizophrenia.
RU Right in the Head? – booklet for young men, providing information on issues which can affect their mental and emotional wellbeing.
Samaritans – confidential and non-judgemental emotional support, 24 hours a day, for people who are experiencing distress or despair.
See Change – partnership to reduce stigma and challenge the discrimination associated with mental health problems.
Shine – support for people affected by mental ill-health.
Stamp Out Suicide! – suicide awareness information for those feeling depressed and suicidal, and for those bereaved by suicide.
Stress, Mental Health and Suicide: Men – inequalities and unfair access issues emerging from the DHSSPS (2004) “Equality and Inequalities in Health and Social Care: A Statistical Overview” Report (PDF, 68KB).
Talking therapies – help you work out how to deal with negative thoughts and feelings and make positive changes.)
Teen Depression – A Guide for Parents
Teen-Line Ireland – helpline for teenagers which provides a listening and support service.
The Mesothelioma Center – information about mesothelioma, a rare cancer that affects protective membranes surrounding lungs, heart and abdominal cavity mainly caused by asbestos exposure
Your Mental Health – improves awareness and understanding of mental health and well-being in Ireland.
ZocDoc Search for Mental Health Service Providers

Physical Activity & Diet

Cycle NI – cycle routes in Northern Ireland for all abilities.<
Eurobarometer report on sport and physical activity.
Get a Life, Get Active – information, motivation and tips to increase your level of physical activity.
Get Ireland Active website.
Highway to Health – developed by Northern Ireland Chest, Heart & Stroke to encourage people of all ages to walk for leisure and good health.
Irish Heart Foundation – information on why we need to get active and how.
Irish Trails – trails and walking routes in Ireland.
Little Steps – suggestions for little steps to becoming more active.
The National Guidelines on Physical Activity for Ireland.
Outdoor NI – guide to outdoor activities in Northern Ireland.
Slí na Sláinte – scheme developed by the Irish Heart Foundation to encourage people to walk for leisure and good health.
Walk NI – walking routes in Northern Ireland for both the serious rambler and short strollers.
Weigh 2 Live – practical advice on weight loss, developed by nutritionists from SafeFood and dietitians from the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute.

Research, Statistics, Policy & Reports

Gender Equality Strategy Statistics – 2011 Update (PDF, 735KB): Prepared for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland (OFMDFM) by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).
Getting Inside Men’s Health: Outcomes of a research project to inform the development of a National Men’s Health Policy in the Republic of Ireland.
Health in Ireland: Key Trends 2011 (PDF, 2.26MB): Health data on the Republic of Ireland over the past decade, which aims to highlight trends and topics of growing concern, as well as to assess progress in the broader EU context.
Men in Northern Ireland (MiNI) Series: Headline factsheets on males, presenting key statistics relating to demography, work, health, education, family life and caring responsibilities (prepared by staff from ARK).
Men’s Life and Times: A module within the 2000 and 2004 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey, conducted by the ARK team within Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster. This research explores the attitudes of both men and women to issues affecting men.
North Leitrim Men’s Research: Report, in 2001, on research conducted by the North Leitrim Men’s Group into the needs of single rural men.
Social Focus on Men: Produced by National Statistics, this report provides an overview of the changing lives and roles of men in the United Kingdom in terms of their health, work, income, education, family situation and lifestyle in 2001.
Women and Men in Ireland, 2011 (PDF, 1.21MB): Gender equality indicators collated by the Central Statistics Office in the Republic of Ireland.


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