How can we help young men talk about mental health?
Published: 7 June, 2017
Black Dog Institute Research Fellow, Dr Andrea Fogarty, comments on the barriers preventing young men from seeking help for their mental health needs.
Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, has today released a new report called ‘Keeping it Real: Reimagining mental health care for all young men’.
Dr Andrea Fogarty, a Research Fellow at Black Dog Institute and a contributor to the report, said the key findings show that young men’s mental health needs are currently not being met.
“Young men are at higher risk of developing poorer mental health outcomes, and are typically less likely to seek help through traditional channels than young women,” she said.
“This raises questions over how best to respond – do we focus on getting them into care sooner, or are more novel and gender-specific treatment interventions required?
“As the ‘Keeping it Real’ report shows, young men’s use of existing mental health services is at least partly impacted by the pressures on them to adhere to masculine norms.
“People often don’t recognise that certain signs of distress can be indicative of poor mental health: anger, drug or alcohol use, and risk-taking.
“By teaching those around young men to look out for such warning signs, we can better focus our efforts in engaging them before these patterns become firmly entrenched into adulthood.
“Just as importantly, there is a clear need to identify new avenues for support outside of existing channels, which take on board young men’s own preferences about the kind of care they need.
“This will require giving young men a language to openly talk about their mental health amongst peers and their support networks, helping to engage young men on their own terms, and doing so in environments they are already comfortable in, such as in schools and the sporting arena.”
Black Dog Institute is actively involved in spearheading two new ways of helping young men to think differently about their mental wellbeing.
Dr Fogarty is currently working on 'Man Central' - a module as part of Black Dog's free online self-help program, myCompass - which incorporates the very strategies men have indicated in past research that is most effective for reducing symptoms of mild depression.
Black Dog Institute is also partnering with the Early Start Research Institute at the University of Wollongong to deliver the 'Ahead of the Game' program, which incorporates workshops and online tools targeting adolescent male mental health.
Funded by Movember, this project takes mental health education out into the settings where young men are already interacting - the sports club - and also helps coaches and family members in community sports club settings.
Media contact: Emily Cook, Black Dog Institute, 0455 100 277 or send an email
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