The Man MOT offers text and online chat options direct to doctors for men worried about their health
The Man MOT offers text and online chat options direct to doctors for men worried about their health
A view from Jon Davie

Eight ways digital is helping men to stay healthy

It's Men's Health Week. And the most important thing to say about that is that men are notoriously bad at looking after themselves, writes Jon Davie, MD, Zone.

We’re less likely to discuss our health and feelings. And we’re less likely to take action when we’re physically or mentally under par.

But the stats are clear. Men have a 14% higher risk of developing cancer than women and a 37% higher risk of dying from it. Mental health problems and depression rates also can’t be ignored - suicide is the single most common cause of death in men under 35.

But social media campaigns and online tools are helping to change all that. Digital power is driving more engagement and awareness than ever before.

Here are eight ways that digital is making a difference to the way take care of themselves right now:

Men United – PCUK

Prostate Cancer UK have been very canny. They’ve taken the old Trojan horse approach – wheeling in their health messages under the guise of something more engaging – football. The charity’s Men United campaign started conversations with at risk men through through partnerships with respected names in the world of football: bloggers, journalists, players and pundits. And now there’s a football-themed online test to find out more about your prostate’s health.


Health, just like grooming, seems to be one of those issues where men need a rugged metaphor in order to connect with it. But the Man MOT from Men’s Health Forum is a great idea, offering both text and online chat options direct to doctors for men worried about their health.


A tongue-in-cheek approach to the sensitive issue of mental illness, produced by the charity Rethink. The humour is nicely judged but it doesn’t detract from the point.

STD Triage

Ashley Cole must be relieved: there’s now an entirely legitimate reason to send someone a photograph of your gentleman’s area. It’s a free iOS and Android app to be used if you suspect that all is not well below stairs: snap, send, and a crack team of dermatologists will tell you (for a $10 fee) whether you need to call your GP, or just have a stiff drink and stop worrying.

Beyond Blue

The sense of humour is as Australian as a barbecued daytime soap opera. Which actually sits a lot more comfortably than you’d think for this video-intensive site, Man Therapy, for Aussie depression charity Beyond Blue.

Male Cancer Awareness

Shockingly, I didn’t know that men could get breast cancer. Which probably goes a long way to proving the point. Male Cancer Awareness aren’t shy of some shock value, like this just-about-safe-for-work film for their "Bouncies" campaign.

Wax on, wax off

A nice idea from BBDO for Testicular Cancer Canada, featuring a group of beardy creatives having themselves waxed to raise awareness of the disease. Eye-watering to watch, and delivered only on social channels.


The riotously successful Movember goes from strength to strength, co-opting workplaces and peer groups alike in giving men an excuse to cultivate their own walrus. It’s perfectly designed to flower on social channels and by word of mouth, and still sets a gold standard for awareness nearly 11 years after its launch.