Trauma, societal norms and the economy negatively affect men’s health, panel finds – State of Reform

Some men may need to step out of their comfort zone to achieve a level of health and wellness that can positively impact their family and loved ones.

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A multi-perspective group of speakers discussed men’s health at a Washington State Department of Health (DOH) panel held Thursday to recognize Men’s Health Month. Former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin said a major issue affecting men’s health is their reluctance to discuss any trauma they may have suffered.

“I’m in therapy to assess my childhood trauma,” Baldwin said. “I don’t think we talk about it enough. We normalized childhood trauma. Usually we don’t have the desire to do mental health, we don’t pursue it.

Baldwin said men can be particularly reluctant to share sexually traumatic experiences, noting that sexual abuse is more prevalent than some men care to admit. Reverend Dr Leslie Braxton, senior pastor of New Beginnings Christian Fellowship in Kent, said boys are almost as likely as girls to experience childhood sexual trauma. According to National Center for Victims of Crime.

“Men are much less likely to admit to sexual trauma,” Braxton said. “We internalize what happened.”

Some men may feel less masculine or weak when discussing painful experiences they’ve had, a theme they can learn through societal norms, DOH Health Secretary Dr. Umair Shah said. . And uncontrolled feelings can prompt negative methods of pain management, including acts of violence, he said.

“There are societal waves happening where we get caught up in this,” Shah said. “It’s about society. What can we do as a society? Mass shootings… What are we doing to deal with this? We haven’t done enough. We are not doing enough for our generation. What are we teaching our sons? What do we do to prevent them from reliving traumas that we ourselves have suffered? Shame on us if we can’t do more when we know these things are impacting the people we care about. »

Men living in lower-class economic environments are also prone to negative health effects, Braxton said.

“People live in communities where there are food deserts,” Braxton said. “Because of their address, they cannot go where the quality of food is better. Are we going to make healthy living possible? We have an obesity crisis in general. Sixty percent of our young people do not pass a physical fitness exam. We have introduced fast food in schools. We are becoming more and more unhealthy every day.

Baldwin said capitalism can also play a negative role in men’s health.

“It’s a simple matter of supply and demand,” Baldwin said. “I don’t care about the bottom line. It shouldn’t all be the end. We don’t see human beings as human beings. We consider them production vehicles. Our whole system of government has been set up this way from the beginning.

America’s healthcare system needs change, Braxton said, noting that many men cannot afford the care they need.

“This nation needs to have health care that covers everything,” Braxton said. “This is not socialism. It makes economic sense if we provide health care as a right.

Panelists said men should learn to be more vulnerable, become more educated, watch what they eat and drink, and avoid the toxic pressures of masculinity to improve their health. Baldwin said the toxic pressure of masculinity initially dissuaded him from the idea of ​​marriage counseling, although his wife eventually persuaded him to go.

“It was a catalyst for me,” Baldwin said. “It’s imperative that I focus on my overall health so that I can be everything my wife and daughters need.”

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