In January 2009, the Department of Health and Children in Ireland published a national men's health policy. The policy was developed following an extensive research and consultation process. The need for a specific policy focus on men's health was identified in Ireland's National Health Strategy in 2001. This prompted the Department of Health and Children to fund a 3-year men's health research project, the findings of which were launched at the first National Conference on men's health in Ireland, which took place in December 2004. An inter-Departmental and multi-sectoral Steering Group was appointed to oversee the development of the policy. Under the terms of reference of the Steering Group, an extensive and nationwide consultation process was undertaken with all relevant stakeholders. The findings from this consultation process, together with an extensive review of the evidence underpinning the issues raised, were then translated into concrete policy recommendations and actions. These recommendations and actions address a broad range of men's health issues and have implications in terms of gender-mainstreaming men's health across a number of government departments. This paper will describe the background to the policy, outline the methodologies and key principles used for policy development and summarise the key policy recommendations. It will also reflect on some of the key lessons learned and on the challenges in terms of making the policy succeed.
- Men's health