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Men & (Not?) Seeking Help

I've mentioned in some others posts that men, including adolescent males, are at high risk of mental health problems and it seems as though they are not getting the help that they need. A popular view about this is the idea that men simply DO NOT seek help. Well that's a load of rubbish, quite frankly.


Thankfully, more and more effort is being directed at challenging this idea. Academics like Dr Zac Seidler have argued that men do, in fact, attempt to receive support when they need it. In one article he stated:


"Men will and do seek help; they just need to find the right person to listen. It’s the system that needs to change, not men ... "



This is an interesting point and something that a growing number of people agree with. We need to question whether our health system is sensitive to gender differences. Sure, there's some urology clinics that focus on men's issues, just like there are gynaecology clinics (for women). But I suspect that this is due to differences in human anatomy as opposed to a desire to offer something 'gender-informed'.


When it comes to Mental Health care, I wouldn't be surprised if blokes don't know where to start! This is actually something that I hear from some male clients. Many have also commented about previous professionals "not getting it". The last issue might come down partly to the lack of focus on gender-competence when it comes to professional training schemes. In other words, a lot of trainees don't seem to be taught to consider the gender of their clients and how that could impact their approach. There's also insufficient education about the often profound differences in coping styles between men and women, or at least differences in how they explain their challenges. I guess we were just expected to have learnt this through observation and personal experience?


So how does all of what's been mentioned above link back to the issue of Men's help seeking behaviour? Well, we know that men actually do attempt to seek help directly from primary care settings and mental health services. A very large study showed that as many as 40% of men who died by suicide sought help from mental health services in the year prior. A much larger percentage (78%) had been in contact with primary health practitioners (e.g., GPs) in the year prior to their suicide.


So, men (and boys) ARE seeking help, at least in terms of visiting a health service when they're not coping well. Absolutely, we still need to do better at getting more men into mental health care, and we also need to do better at engaging men and providing services that retain men through sustained treatment.


We do now have a range of telephone based services for men, and in the eastern states of Australia, a great clinic called Blokes Psychology. But something was lacking in Adelaide, which is what led to opening MensPsych.


Our clinic is designed to appeal to men and adolescent males (but we don't discriminate and are happy to work with anyone!). Our mission is to provide a high quality service to individuals who are seeking mental health support.


Remember, seeking help isn't a sign of weakness. At MensPsych, we understanding that reaching out for support is actually a really difficult thing to do. If we can succeed in making this step just the tiniest bit easier, then as they say, "that's a job well done".


VISIT OUR HOMEPAGE to learn more about our services, or get in touch via email: contact@menspsych.com.au




MensPsych is not a crisis support service. Appropriate services can be reached 24 hours a day: Lifeline 13 11 14;Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800; MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78; Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636


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