An interpretive phenomenological exploration of the barriers, facilitators and benefits to male mental health help-seeking.

Hannah Erdem, Gemma Wilson, Helen Limbrick, Katherine Swainston

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Abstract

Barriers, facilitators and benefits associated with male mental health help-seeking are poorly understood in the context of men’s gendered experiences. The present study utilised purposive sampling to recruit seven British adult males diagnosed with a mental health condition to explore their lived experiences of help-seeking. Interpretative phenomenological analysis of semi-structured interviews revealed three themes: ‘denial as preservation’, ‘reframing masculine identity’, and ‘normalisation and empowerment’. While denial was found to act as a barrier to help-seeking, reframing masculine identity to incorporate help-seeking as a valued masculine enactment was a facilitator. Normalisation of mental ill health was important in developing a sense of belonging and connectedness with others and the development of a sense of purpose through an exchange of being supportive and supported were perceived benefits of help-seeking. Understanding the construction and negotiation processes of distress and vulnerability connected to gender are crucial to understanding men’s help-seeking for mental health conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
JournalBPS North of England Bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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