The biggest takeaway from the men’s health panel of Nov. 10 was that men of all ages should not be afraid to reach out to friends and professionals for assistance in staying physically and psychologically healthy.
“Sometimes we self medicate, sometimes we hide our problems,” said panelist Mike Monsma of Shepherd Counseling Services. The consensus among the panel was that the fear of reaching out is an issue and that it is important for men to accept help from others.
The discussion, attended by several students and Shepherd staff, was lead by Mark Adelsberger of the Office of Student Engagement, and featured panel speakers Monsma, pitching coach for the Shepherd baseball team Paul Hvozdovic, writer and former Shepherd English teacher Tom Donlon, and practicing nurse and paramedic and 2011 Shepherd graduate John Considine.
Awareness of what ailments are possible for men later in life and even as young adults was another key point in the discussion. Donlon, a prostate cancer survivor, said that knowing what illnesses can affect your life is a very useful tool and that “if you take care of yourself now, you will be glad you did later in life.”
Similarly, the panelists discussed the preventative steps that men can take that will pay off for their later health. Hvozdovic said that physical fitness is absolutely necessary for a successful athletic program. The psychological benefits of fitness were also noted.
“Exercise can be as beneficial and effective as antidepressants, and walking is great for mentally sorting out problems,” Monsma said. “Unresolved trauma can build up over time and become the equivalent of a medical condition that isn’t being treated.”
Considine also said that making lifestyle modifications such as quitting smoking is easier the younger that you do it.
“Catching illnesses early is key to overcoming them,” Donlon said. “Regular check-ups with a doctor can save your life.”
Considine said that discussions are effective ways of letting others know that seeking help is not bad and that, “We should all let our friends know that they should see a doctor if we notice physical or psychological abnormalities in their behavior.”
Hvozdovic also said that building a trusting relationship with someone that you can turn to is necessary for a healthy life.
The Wellness Center is open seven days a week and offers an array of facilities designed to promote fitness. Shepherd Counseling Services can be found in Burkhart Hall, Suites 301 and 302, and are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.