To the Editors: The Washington Post
By Kenneth Braswell; CEO
The article “A silent crisis in men’s health gets worse” (April 17, 2023) (https://bit.ly/WP_MensHealthArticle) by Tara Parker-Pope and Caitlin Gilbert serves as an important wake-up call. The issues raised are both alarming and long overdue for a comprehensive, collective response. As the CEO of Fathers Incorporated, a not-for-profit organization that seeks to promote responsible fatherhood and mentoring, I appreciate the focus on men’s health disparities.
Men’s health is not just a men’s issue; it is a societal one. The outcomes have an indirect impact on families, communities, and our economy as a whole. When fathers, sons, brothers, and friends suffer in silence, the entire family unit, and by extension, our community suffers.
The existence of a longevity gap points towards an unsettling reality. This crisis manifests through a range of health issues — from increased risks of cancer, diabetes, and COVID-19, to significantly higher suicide rates. This data not only exposes the tragic health disparities men are experiencing, but also calls into question the societal norms and expectations we impose on men and boys.
The medical community and society as a whole must challenge long-standing gender stereotypes that discourage men from seeking help. The cultural expectation that men be stoic, self-reliant, and invulnerable to physical or mental illness is a barrier to healthcare access and utilization. The normalization of these beliefs is a major contributor to the silent health crisis that men are currently facing.
Moreover, a review of how men’s health issues are funded and researched is overdue. The present inequities cannot be rectified without allocating appropriate resources for research, intervention development, and public health campaigns tailored to men’s needs.
From a policy perspective, we must institute health strategies that not only acknowledge gender differences but prioritize gender-specific healthcare. We need to create more accessible, men-friendly health services and promote regular screenings for diseases that disproportionately affect men.
Lastly, as a society, we must commit to altering the narrative around men’s health. The task at hand is to cultivate a culture where it’s not just acceptable but also encouraged for men to discuss their health concerns and seek help when needed. Educational efforts should start early in schools, laying the foundation for understanding that seeking help is not a sign of weakness but a strength.
Let this article serve as a clarion call to action. By shining a spotlight on the silent crisis in men’s health, we have an opportunity to address these issues head-on and foster healthier families and communities.
Kenneth Braswell, CEO, Fathers Incorporated.
Fathers Incorporated is a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia that aims to promote responsible fatherhood and support the development of healthy families. The organization was founded in 2004 by Kenneth Braswell, who wanted to provide resources and support for fathers who were struggling to be present and active in their children’s lives.
Fathers Incorporated offers a range of programs and services to support fathers, including fatherhood training and development programs, job readiness training, and parenting education classes. The organization also provides support and resources to fathers who are facing legal or financial challenges, such as child support issues, custody disputes or housing challenges.
In addition to working directly with fathers, Fathers Incorporated also advocates for policies and programs that support responsible fatherhood and healthy families. The organization conducts research on issues related to fatherhood, and partners with other organizations and government agencies to promote positive outcomes for families.
Overall, Fathers Incorporated is dedicated to improving the lives of fathers and their families, and to promoting the importance of fatherhood in society.