Letter: Men can learn to 'mother' themselves

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Sir: Liz Hunt's article on the alarming state of men's health (report, 29 September) reports that the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kenneth Calman, is urging women to help transmit health messages to men. Men's shorter life expectancy and susceptibility to death by misadventure are linked with the cultural expectation that women take care of men, so that men are not required to learn when and how to look after themselves. It is therefore disappointing to find Dr Calman perpetuating this state of affairs with his plea for more help from mothers, sisters, wives and girlfriends.

A more direct way of addressing the problem of early and violent deaths for men (while at the same time tackling the costs for women of caring for men, in terms of depression and chronic ill-health), would be to exhort men to take responsibility for their own well-being and to look for ways of enabling them to do so.

Yours faithfully,


Chudleigh, Devon

30 September