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Years of toxic masculinity have taken root in the American psyche and, as a result, men are suffering. Mental health alone lays claim to shocking statistics; figures reported this week in CNBC note that boys are 3 times more likely to die by suicide than girls, with men reporting they see ‘looking for a help’ as a weakness. The overly masculine 'macho' posturing of Trump will only exacerbate the issue. With crucial and transformational laws concerning health care under assault from the Republicans, there is more cause of concern ahead. The recapture of Congress puts a momentary halt on any sweeping changes, but, arguably, a wider scale cultural change needs to happen.

Macho Culture

Giving male problems the solution they need

A lack of interest into male-related diseases is one contributory factor to the current state of healthcare. Examining prostate cancer and its rates of recovery demonstrates this. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in males, according to CBS. Several factors can help to mitigate the risk, including leading a healthy lifestyle, maintaining recommended levels of testosterone and going for regular checkups. As a result of publication of these principles, prostate cancer deaths dropped nearly 50% between 1991 and 2011. However, in 2011 a decision was made to stop recommending regular blood tests; since then, the rate has plateaued. In order to bring male cancer issues to the forefront, investment needs to be made into further public awareness.

Providing access to care

Reforms of the healthcare insurance system, improved by Obama but in stagnation since, mean that health insurance will rarely be able to cover the often exorbitant costs.

Public awareness is the first step to raising these important issues, and access to care is the second. Unfortunately, this is another area where federal policy is causing the system to fail. Reforms of the healthcare insurance system, improved by Obama but in stagnation since, mean that health insurance will rarely be able to cover the often exorbitant costs. This is acutely felt in mental health care, where it is simply more profitable to prescribe anti-depressants. The Fix reported young adults turning to hobbies and past-times where therapy was sorely needed. Until reform of the insurance industry occurs, which looks unlikely under the current administration, men’s mental health will remain in a crisis state.

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Addressing transgender concerns

Despite the USA having what the Williams Institute estimate to be up to 1.4 million transgender people, Trump and his administration have done nothing to improve their rights and give some peace of mind. The Department of Health and Human Services have gone as far as attempting to regulate gender to male and female under their Title IX amendment, according to The New York Times. The result is more men – and women – forced to deny their gender identity, which the Medical Xpress found is linked to severe mental health diagnoses. While more and more transgender people are getting access to the healthcare they require, the environment is not positive and is contributing to more problems. Putting an end to this will be crucial for future administrations.

Health care concerns among men are often relegated to the backlight. In the ultra-macho world of Trump and Putin, this is only becoming more obvious, as bottling up feelings and “manning up” take center stage. Reversing this trend and providing men with the resources they need must be a focus of future legislators.

Cindy Trillo