In a recent study, a group of researchers from Australia identified digital health solutions to compensate for the lack of help-seeking behavior in men. The study, titled “Young men’s attitudes and behaviour in relation to mental health and technology: implications for the development of online mental health services”, surveyed 486 men and interviewed 118 men, all aged 16 to 24 years old, in focus groups.
The study found that a high degree of mental health stigma existed within the male participations, associating it with “insanity”, “being crazy”, “straight jackets”, “mental institutions”, and “unstable people”. These messages existed alongside the lack of insight about what mental health means, as well as negative perceptions for help-seeking behavior, such as threats to one’s sense of strength, masculinity, and normalness.
Among the research sample, just over half of the men surveyed had previously reached out for help using digital means (e.g., online fact sheets, websites with online clinics, text- or email-based mental health services), with 81% of this subset saying that they found this helpful. Men preferred online, action-based interventions targeting behavioral change to improve mental health and decrease stigma, while not focusing heavily on facts/statistics about mental health. Results of the study showed more willingness to engage in digital help-seeking than in-person help-seeking, suggesting digital health and resources as a bridge to mental wellbeing in men.