The Fit Element is a comprehensive model of health that the City of Playford is using to help men better understand, assess and improve their health and well-being. The program was developed, and is run by, the City’s Community Services Officer, Phillip Saridakis who is a Physiotherapist.
The Fit Element, which has as its logo the triquetra symbol representing earth (body), air (mind), water (freedom-renewal) and fire (passion-social inclusion), includes education, community events and a range of different men’s groups. The latter includes:
- a talking health group
- “railway men” a group building a complete railway model replica of the City of Playford and involving schools and local business to be included in the model
- a virtual golf group
- a gardening group
- a men’s shed
The program is open to all men but one of his target groups are older men without social networks. His experience shows that for men, once they retire from the work-force, many of them lose their male-based social network. Social inclusion is essential for well-being and is the enabler for men to start to deal with health problems, Phillip said. Women often maintain strong networks both at and outside of work and therefore retirement does not impact on them as much as men.
This is consistent with finding with the AIHW findings just released that:
- Employed males are less likely to rate their health as fair or poor (11%) compared with unemployed males (37%) and males not in the labour force (41%).
Phillip welcomes the opportunity for students to become involved in his program and has left his details with the Freemason’s Foundation Centre for Men’s Health.