New research aims to identify patterns in how and why Australian men seek mental health support services and why they don’t.
About the Ten to Men study
As reported by Australia-based The Good Men Project, the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has just released the eagerly awaited second report from their landmark ‘Ten To Men’ research series.
The report, entitled ‘Mental Health Care Needs And Access Among Australian Men,’ reveals that while there has been a demonstrable and encouraging uptake of mental health services among men, there remain several key barriers preventing men from seeking further assistance in this field.
The report, which links the results with other Ten to Men survey responses, highlights the usage of mental health services and the issuing of prescriptions and goes on to analyze the socio-economic, health, and demographic characteristics impacting men’s use of mental health care throughout Australia.
Opportunities to improve services for men
The Ten to Men Program said that the report offers an opportunity to dive further into men’s use of these services for their mental health in order to inform and direct policies aimed at improving men’s mental health.
Speaking about the new report and its findings, Dr. Sean Martin, Ten to Men’s Program Lead, said
“Ten to Men is one of the largest longitudinal studies of men’s health and wellbeing in the world. This second chapter paints a detailed picture of not just who is accessing mental health care in Australia but, almost more importantly, who isn’t and the barriers they may be facing, opening important conversations.
Understanding these barriers is crucial in crafting targeted initiatives to overcome both structural and attitudinal barriers. The report’s insights, including the important role that GPs have played in men’s access to mental health care, are critical in conversations around policy and practice”.
Variance across different groups
The report demonstrated that men’s use of mental health services differed across socio-economic groups. Usage trends of such services indicated lower take-up rates among older men, less educated, not employed, or who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders.
These usage differences were more pronounced in mental health prescriptions compared to mental health services.
The study also identified that some men experiencing more significant depressive symptoms who may have benefitted from treatment did not subsequently access mental health care. This was more often the case among employed men and those who conformed more to traditional masculine norms – a real legacy issue that has been slow to diminish in modern Australian culture.
Explaining the importance of the report in providing a comprehensive overview of key unmet needs in the space, Dr. Clement Wong, Lead Author of the report, stated,
“The study shows that a large proportion of the sample experiencing greater depressive symptoms did not access a relevant mental health service or prescription. Such data suggests that there is a substantial unmet need for mental health care among Australian men”.
Based on a study of around 8,000 participants, the report is one of four chapters released by Ten to Men over the coming months, revealing insights that address priority areas of the Australian National Men’s Health Strategy 2020-2030.
About Ten to Men
Ten to Men is an Australian national research initiative aimed at filling the gaps in knowledge about why males (on average) have poorer health outcomes than females. Additionally, it seeks to answer why certain groups of males have poorer health than males in general.
The knowledge gained in this important study will be used to improve programs and policies for male health across Australia. The study is longitudinal, meaning that it will be referring back to the cohort of participants every few years for updates so that an understanding of how changing life stages and circumstances might affect health and wellbeing over time.
In a part of the world where the importance of alpha-male masculine stereotypes has long prevailed in its society, this Australian research is charting a new course through the myriad of issues as to why the take-up of mental health services differed throughout its adult male population and what can be done about it.
My Mind News will keep a close eye on the release of subsequent reports in the Ten to Men series and will, of course, report their findings to our readers here as they are published.
What do you think about this research in general and specifically the findings of this latest report? Let us know in the comments.