MONS, Belgium - The Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) Gender Advisor (GENAD) team, in conjunction with the NATO Communications and Information Systems Group (NCISG), hosted the 2023 Men’s Health and Wellness Awareness Fair at the headquarters on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023.
The fair was designed to bring light to a wide range of men's health issues and highlight the wellness resources available at SHAPE to support men’s mental, physical, spiritual and social health.
Healthy men equal a healthy world
Admiral Sir Keith Blount, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR), provided opening remarks and noted the difficulties for some men to acknowledge their mental health struggles.
“I don’t know what it is about men, but we are not quite as good at opening up as women are, and yet we need that to be the case,” said Blount. “Men carry these burdens around on their shoulders, and they don’t necessarily show them until it’s too late. But it’s through events like this, that we can gently and easily encourage people to be more open.”
The SHAPE Gender Advisor team, in conjunction with NCISG, hosted the Men's Health and Wellness Awareness Information Fair at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. - NATO Photo by SHAPE Public Affairs Office
Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Admiral Sir Keith Blount, addresses SHAPE staffs during the 2023 Men’s Health and Wellness Awareness Fair at the headquarters on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. - NATO Photo by SHAPE Public Affairs Office
"The fair served as a platform to encourage men to prioritise all aspects of health to ensure men are equipped to handle the pressures of work, family and life," said Lieutenant Colonel Sheri Lattemore, the SHAPE GENAD.
“Healthy men equal a healthy world,” said Lattemore. “Here on SHAPE, there are many resources to support physical, mental and spiritual health. Unfortunately, sometimes men especially those in the military, don’t seek or fully understand these services.”
To help educate attendees on available resources and services, the event included representatives from Behavioral Health, the SHAPE Sports and Fitness Center, the SHAPE Main Post Chapel, the SHAPE Family Life Center and primary care providers from the SHAPE Healthcare Facility.
“I am educated. I didn’t realise all of this was here. And find it reassuring that it is,” said Blount.
Men’s Health and Wellness Awareness events focus on promoting physical and mental well-being among men and provides a safe space for men to discuss their health openly, seek support, and take proactive steps toward a healthier and happier life.
“So, in your communities, take time to talk and reflect on this day. Use it as an entry point to try and build an understanding and to encourage people to seek help,” said Blount. “I think this is an amazing event. I’m encouraged because we're doing it…When the tables go away …, this event doesn’t stop. We take it back to our respective work areas and continue to spread the message.”