How long has it been since your last check up?

For a lot of people, men in particular, the answer is often too long. Men are around 10% less likely to see their GP within a year in Australia.

As someone who knows all too well about the laid-back “it’s nothing to worry about”, “she’ll be right”, attitude when it comes to health and visiting the GP, I can definitely vouch for the fact that getting a little push from your friends and family can be more helpful than harmful.

With the prevalence of work-related stress, anxiety and mental health issues in today’s society, the need for regular check-ups seems to be of even greater importance than ever before. It’s well documented that women are more proactive when it comes to seeking medical help, although the recent rise of foundations centred around men’s health (in particular, mental health) has reduced the stigma around men talking openly about their health.

Our bodies change regularly and a lot can change over the course of a year or two, which is why GP’s recommend yearly check-ups for older patients and every two to three years for those younger than 30. And when it comes to any new moles, spots or other irregularities that maybe you’ve chosen to ignore – it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Some common reasons people avoid visiting their doctor:

  • Fear or anxiety about what the doctor might say
  • Busy work schedules/seeing a GP visit as low priority compared to work
  • Stubbornness and stigma

So what is the best way to approach your partner about getting a check-up?

  • A lot of people don’t feel comfortable talking about their health, so it can be helpful to make health related conversations a normal part of your life and remove the stigma.
  • Make your partner aware of how them avoiding a check-up affects you as well, not just their own well-being. Making them aware of how their actions affect others can help spur them towards making an appointment. If you have kids, remind your partner of how it may affect their future too.
  • Ask them if you can set up the appointment for them. Taking action into your own hands can be helpful in some cases. It’s important not to push the case too much, but there’s no harm in asking to help.
  • Offer to go to the doctor with them - this isn’t always a possibility given work requirements, children and other factors, but even offering to be that supportive presence for them can mean a lot.

Like with any sensitive topic of conversations, you don’t want to push the point too hard. Persistently bothering them about making an appointment might even worsen the potential negative connotations they feel about going to a GP. Be supportive and let them know you’ll be there for them regardless, but that this is really important to you.

You can’t force people to do anything, but hopefully they’ll eventually see the light (and a GP).

15 January 2020