At CGI, we encourage open conversation around men’s health. We believe that the more we normalise these discussions, the easier we make it for men to keep an eye on their health, be aware when something’s wrong and feel comfortable asking for help. The right support at the right time can save lives.
Our Men’s Health Network launched last November with the aim of providing all of our members with information and resources on this important topic. We spoke to James, Andy and Mark below about their own experiences and the impact of our Men’s Health Network.
James, Bid Manager
The Men's Health Network has created a community for men to discuss their health problems and get the support they need. Men are significantly less likely to discuss these things than women, so by normalising them and raising more awareness around such issues, we aim to break down the barriers. I know that my own understanding of men's health issues, and my willingness to talk about them openly, has already improved.
CGI has excellent support services in place for members, from our Oxygen health and wellbeing programme, to our large internal network of mental health first aiders, Member Assistance Programme and health insurance policies. Now we’re adding to this with a network that focuses specifically on male health considerations. It’s not just for men either – it’s for everyone. We all have men in our life and being able to spot the signs of health issues, both physical and mental, could really help someone.
There are many events and fundraisers to get involved in (Movember for example!), and you can volunteer for the committee to help with organising things and communicating our messages to the wider community. For Men’s Health Week, we’ve organised a talk with a doctor who will answer questions directly from the audience. It’s a great opportunity for all of us to open up.
Andy, Senior Commercial Manager
I’ve had back issues for years. Over time it developed into a chronic condition, which culminated in me being described by an A&E doctor as an example of someone whose back ‘has properly gone’.
The sedentary work environment of my selected career did nothing to help this, and by 2015 I was in constant discomfort, So I decided to do something about it! I took advantage of CGI’s private medical benefits and phoned Cigna, was advised to see a physiotherapist and eventually went to the Neck and Back clinic for chronic pain. Eight intensive physio sessions later, my pain was dramatically reduced, but when it started to deteriorate again, I once again contacted Cigna.
With some high-quality medical intervention and assessment, I was again put on a physio regime with a local physio who’s been a godsend. I’m now down to self-maintenance - and I’ve run a handful of half-marathons and done a Tough Mudder since 2019!
What’s more, getting involved with the Men’s Health Network has really made me consider my personal health even more. As a result, recently I joined my local cycling club and am now happily managing a 50+ mile cycle each Saturday. Thanks CGI!
I was woefully underprepared for the intense emotions I was faced with when my wife had a miscarriage in 2021. Many hours were spent on Google looking for answers on how to ‘deal’ with the situation and support my wife, forgetting to ensure I was looking after myself in the process. Overtraining in the gym and overeating seemed to be my coping mechanisms. If only there were some actionable guidance at close hand at the time…
…cue the ‘Man Manual’, an excellent booklet produced by CGI’s Men’s Health Network. This manual ensures I know all the simple things I need to do to look after myself mentally and physically in a positive, constructive way.
Admittedly, I was reluctant to action some of the advice at first because I thought I knew better (I think we’re all guilty of that arrogance sometimes), but by taking things back to basics and following its clear, no-nonsense advice, I’ve noticed I’m able to handle mental stress in a much healthier way.
The main takeaway from the Man Manual for me is that small and consistent changes lead to huge results. Yes, we all know this on some level but it is thoroughly reassuring to have a tool like this that so succinctly describes how to identify maladies that commonly plague men, and the actions we can take to help ourselves.
We’re all affected by men’s health, whether directly or through the challenges of a colleague or loved one. It’s fantastic to see our network break down the barriers for open discussion and help to destigmatise so many common issues facing the men around us. We’d love to hear from you with ideas, input or initiatives for the future, and watch this space - we’ve only just begun!