Men and wellness: How to truly make an impact
A light has been shone on the health and wellness of individuals, particularly men, as the taboos and stigmas relating to opening up about mental, spiritual and sexual health are gradually being broken down.
Research on health management trends published in January 2019 by market intelligence agency Mintel, reveals that males in the 18- to 34-year-old demographic were more likely to have suffered from stress, anxiety and depression compared to females, over the past year.
Creating Change, Starting Conversations
Yet, to date, traditional gender and behavioural stereotypes have seemingly prevailed, preventing open and honest conversations coming to the forefront of public campaigns.
Men’s Health Week, held between 10th-16th June 2019, emphasised the key statistics that both men need to know about their health, and that policymakers need to know regarding how inequality and deprivation affect men’s health.
Rising suicide rates over the past ten years have been a key indicator fuelling the concerns and calls for more to be done about men’s mental health. In the US in 2017, suicide was reported as the 10th leading cause of death.
However, a shift is taking place as “the definition of masculinity is changing”, highlights Andrea Wroble, Health and Wellness Analyst at Mintel.
As the movement towards transparent, open and authentic discussions on these topics ramps up, Andrea Wroble, Health and Wellness Analyst at Mintel reveals there are core areas where cosmetics and personal care brands are focusing their marketing and brand engagement efforts on.
A Shift in Communication
The media and entertainment industry are often perceived as contributing towards the continuation of these traditional gender roles through depicting men as “unable to discuss or process emotions”. In turn, where masculinity is defined as mental toughness, it has “created an environment where men’s emotional wellbeing silently suffers”, Andrea Wroble, Health and Wellness Analyst at Mintel, states.
As the landscape shows distinct efforts to move away from traditional male stereotype-based marketing, there are now growing opportunities for consumers and brands to challenge ideas of masculinity and actively remove the barriers that exist around these stereotypes.
Increasingly, celebrities and male role models are openly talking about mental health, garnering more attention and support for a society where archaic views are dismantled and replaced with positive and progressive ones. Prince Harry and Michael Phelps, along with documentaries on the topic of suicide including Avicii: True Stories are all advocating for real change, and contributing to the male mental health discussion.
How are brands responding?
Brands in the personal care space are taking notice. As a result, some are incorporating this changing and welcomed narrative into their storytelling efforts in a supportive and sensitive way.
Roman is one such direct-to-consumer brand raising the profile of wellness amongst men. It is doing this by promoting open communication and providing access to medical advice and medication in a variety of areas relating to overall sexual health including erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.
Lifestyle brand, Goop, has a whole area on its website dedicated to wellness where it provides content on a variety of men’s health and wellness-related topics to encourage conversations — an area that has traditionally been marketed to women.
Seeking support: Simple is best
In its research, Mintel also found that males aged between 18-34 are less likely to adopt preventive and personalised approaches to managing their health, which may mean talking to a healthcare professional, undergoing treatment or taking part in an assessment, is unlikely.
The importance of prevention practices and how the awareness to act can have a significant impact on men opening up on their mental, emotional and physical health is set to shape brands’ approaches to health care.
“Simple, but proactive health habits”, are key, shares Wroble, as is “encouragement and education”, to support an “open relationship between males and their personal health and wellness”.