Men in the U.K. are being urged to make the most of the health advice available from pharmacists and other health-service providers since studies have shown that men are often reluctant to use health services unless they are in significant pain, according to a Department of Health news release. This is despite the fact that men are much more likely than women to die from a number of common diseases and that the average man is likely to spend up to 15 years suffering from a serious or chronic illness.

British Health Minister Rosie Winterton issued a call in late April for men to utilize available health advice. “The challenge for all of us,” said Winterton, “is to reach these people, such as the 50-year-old male smoker who does not routinely access health services but wants to give up smoking.”

Circadian Technologies reports that not only do shiftworking men show higher rates of many health problems (especially sleep disorders) than the rest of the population, but it is more challenging for them to seek health services, given their irregular schedules. And because men are statistically less likely to seek health services, any hurdles like scheduling problems or lack of availability only compounds the problem.

Confidential or anonymous health services, including mail- and-telephone-based programs, can encourage male workers to address health problems that they otherwise might not, according to Circadian.