Men’s Health in College

In conducting some related research on men’s health, I’ve recently come across a few websites for university student health centers that have pages set aside for men’s health. (Here are a few examples: UNH, UD and UGA) These sites provide a variety of information on issues specific to men while encouraging them to come to the center if they have any health concerns. Because men and women often deal with the stress that can be associated with college life in different ways, it makes sense to target services to each gender. However, I get the impression (from my own experience as well a quick look around the web) that most schools are much better at reaching out to young women than young men when it comes to their health.

College is a time when many students take responsibility for their own health for the first time. They might have previously been encouraged (or practically forced) to go to the doctor by their parents or other family members. Living away from home means many more choices to make, and taking care of one’s health is perhaps the most important of these. College is also a time when the health needs of many students are changing: they are becoming more sexually active, they are adjusting to finding or cooking food for themselves, and they are coping with a new set of stressors.

Getting students to seek help when they have a health problem or even a health question can be a huge challenge. This dilemma may be particularly acute for young men because of social norms that teach boys to be “tough” and independent, making them less likely to seek help on sensitive issues or at all. Creating resources particularly for men and making men’s health care seem more mainstream will help more young men make the decision to deal with their health concerns – such as depression, poor diet, or fear of STDs – before they become a serious problem. A men’s health section reinforces the idea that men have both unique health needs and unique ways of addressing common issues. This may be what it takes to get men into the health centers. Kudos to those schools that have already made men’s health a focus; others should follow their example.

Armin Brott

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Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.
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