Men's Health Awareness Month - Q&A 001 with Anuj Velankar
November is Men's Health Awareness Month. According to Movember.com, on average, men will die 4.5 years earlier than women... and for reasons that are largely preventable. Several charities and global organisations raise awareness around men's health issues, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health.
In our 4-part series highlighting Men's Health Awareness Month, Sophia Bullard, Crew Health Programme Director, is interviewing men across the maritime industry in a short Q&A session on the subject of wellbeing.
Our first interviewee is Anuj Velankar, Regional Loss Prevention Director for the UK P&I Club.
1. What does Men's Health Awareness Month mean to you?
This is a significant month to me as I work with seafarers. I feel we can use this to highlight internally and also externally to the industry to place the focus on the safety and wellbeing of seafarers.
2. In your opinion, what do you think is the most common misconception about men's health and wellbeing?
I think the main issue with men's health is that men are told, or feel, as though they should just "get on with it!". Regardless of the support system, men often hesitate internally to admit that their health or wellbeing might be suffering.
3. Do you think the stigma surrounding men's mental health has improved over the last five years? What more can be done?
Yes. I think over the last five years we have spoken enough about the issues so that people are aware of it. If they hear about issues happening on the news or the ship etc., they are not surprised or dismiss them off as "weak minded people". Hopefully over the coming years, men suffering from mental health issues will feel more comfortable opening up to their friends and colleagues about this to highlight that these issues are all around us!
4. Do you have any coping strategies, to improve your own health?
I really find that eating well, getting enough exercise and resting really does wonders to my general wellbeing and mental health. We really need to be grateful if our jobs and life allow us to do these things.
5. What would you like to change about your own health in the future?
My fitness journey is a constant struggle, and I would like to get better at it!
6. How do you unwind?
I think having hobbies outside of work life are very important. I do stand-up comedy, meet with friends and take long walks with my wife. We have had a puppy now for the last two years and he really has transformed our lives for the better. He brings us so much joy!
7. Tell me about the last thing that made you smile/laugh?
I get great joy in making people laugh with me. Stand-up comedy is the perfect medium to fill yourself up with all that positive laughter. Sometimes the best laughs happen when I am writing jokes and I laugh so much internally.
To learn how we can take action, and for more resources on Men's health, visit the Movember webpage.