The federal government of Australia is to evolve the nation's first men's health policy.
Health Minister Nicola Roxon marked the commencement of the International Men's Health Week on Monday by releasing a discussion paper.
The Minister announced consultations would be held across the country over the next 12 months.
The ruling Labor party had promised a policy on men's health before last year's election.
Ms Roxon says there is a need to raise awareness of preventable problems and address some resistance among men to seeking treatment.
"There are specific health challenges which we are determined to help men tackle," she said.
"This is a way to engage men in looking after their health, getting them to visit their doctor more regularly, to encourage men to think about looking after their own bodies in a way that they often think about looking after their car."
The Government says $460,000 will be allocated for suicide prevention programs nationally, including $117,000 for programs for Victorian apprentices in building and construction.
It will give $95,000 to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners to set up a program to encourage men to visit their doctor for preventive health checks.
Malcher G had written two years ago in the Medical Journal of Australia, "Australia still has no national men's health policy, despite the existence of a women's health policy since 1989. It would be naÔve to suggest that simply developing a policy would be sufficient to deal with all the challenges of men's health - policy without adequately funded programs .... Yet, for those of us involved in men's health, there remains an overwhelming desire to see a formal acknowledgement by the federal government (whether a policy, position statement or other document) of the broad and unique issues of men's health, and a preparedness to fund a national program to address these issues.
To provide a more persuasive men's health policy argument in Australia, and to facilitate a broader conceptualisation of what men's health constitutes, male consumer viewpoints ought to be considered when describing men's health. Yet, specific empirical data on male lay perspectives of health and well-being have largely remained absent in research on men's health, and this has been a contributing factor that has stalled the development and implementation of men's health policy in Australia.
Indeed, successes in women's health policy development in Australia have arisen out of a political discourse that has paid particular attention to women's lived experiences, says James A.Smith.
While it would seem sensible to conduct such research with men, there has been limited stimulus to determine men's understandings of health and well-being in Australia.
But there is a growing body of public health research emerging from the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and England which has shown an appreciation of lay perspectives of men's health This has assisted in understanding how 'health' is conceptualised differently between marginalised groups of men, such as gay men and disabled men.