Mental health, men and culture: how do sociocultural constructions of masculinities relate to men’s mental health help-seeking behaviour in the WHO European Region?

Men are less likely than women to seek help for mental health issues and are much more likely to commit suicide. This scoping review examined recent evidence published in English and Russian on the role of socially constructed masculinity norms in men’s help-seeking behaviour for mental health issues. The key sociocultural barriers to men’s help-seeking pertaining to masculinity norms were identified as self-reliance, difficulty in expressing emotions and self-control. The wider community, societal and cultural challenges to men’s help-seeking and well-being were found to include economic insecurity, inequality and limited health- and social-care provision – especially for marginalized groups of men. However, there is also evidence to indicate that men are able to display vulnerability and seek help with trusted people (such as family members, peers and specialists) and within trusted communities. Policy considerations to improve men’s help-seeking for mental health issues should include an awareness of the prevailing cultural norms of masculinity in diverse groups of men to provide effective tailored interventions for mental health promotion.

Authors: B. Gough, I. Novikova

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Governmental / Institutional / Public Health Statutory Body Document
Mental health, addiction

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