Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other staff.


I'm 40 years old. My wife is so relaxed about going to the doctor. It still scares me, plus I feel so stupid, like I ought to be able to cope! But presently I have a number of niggling problems, and I know I should go. What shall I do?


First, remember that doctors are here to help! Many men have memories of unpleasant feelings associated with hospitals and procedures, often from childhood. Put these in perspective. Its OK to discuss them at the doctor's office. You are an adult now, and you have to take charge of your health needs; personal health and fitness is your greatest resource as a man.

First, does your wife take the kids for their physicals and ailments? Many women get to know the family doctor in the context of child health problems. It fosters a trusting relationship. Also, women are targeted for health screens more than men presently. And some men do feel stupid at the doctors. Why? Well, think back to your childhood. Who did the doctor talk to? Its likely it was your mother who answered for you.

Put your health before your pride, and remember that you deserve and need the same quality of care as your wife. Men don't live as long as women on average. So let's try to improve our survival chances by taking that first step. Phone up and make an appointment. And don't worry; remember, your doctor has your best interests at heart.


Trevor Harvey, M.Ed combines lecturing in the School of Health at the University of East Anglia, with writing and counselling, and is based in Norwich, England. After a 12 year naval career, including the Falklands War, he became editorial board member/series advisor with The British Journal of Health Care Management and founder of the men's group AMICUS. He focused on health-related men's issues, particularly the way men negotiate personal transition through relationship crises, and is currently studying the management of information overload. Whenever possible, he combines his passion for photography with hill walking, and piloting his boat on the local lakes and rivers of eastern England.


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