Help seeking by Aboriginal men who are mentally unwell: a pilot study
Version of Record online: 24 JAN 2013
© 2013 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
Early Intervention in Psychiatry
Volume 7, Issue 4, pages 407–413, November 2013
How to Cite
Isaacs, A. N., Maybery, D. and Gruis, H. (2013), Help seeking by Aboriginal men who are mentally unwell: a pilot study. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 7: 407–413. doi: 10.1111/eip.12015
- Issue online: 27 OCT 2013
- Version of Record online: 24 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Received: 12 APR 2012
- Aboriginal men;
- help seeking;
- Indigenous men;
- mental health;
- mental health problem;
- service utilization
Mental illness is widespread among Aboriginal men in Australia. However, they do not access mental health services in proportion to their need. Although several reports implicate cultural differences of mental health services as the cause of underutilization, very little is known about help seeking by Aboriginal men who are mentally unwell. This study explores the help-seeking behaviour of Aboriginal men who are mentally unwell in a rural Victorian community.
The study was carried out using a combination of culturally appropriate research methodologies. Within a Qualitative Description design, semi-structured interviews were conducted with a range of Aboriginal people including men, carers and those involved in service delivery. A total of 17 Aboriginal people were interviewed, of whom 15 were men. Data were analysed thematically.
Four themes emerged from the data collected. They included ‘Difficulty in recognizing mental health problems’, ‘Barriers to disclosing one's problems’, ‘Reluctance to contact services’ and ‘Alternate coping strategies’.
These findings suggest that there is a need for programmes that aim to improve mental health literacy and promote help seeking among Aboriginal men who are mentally unwell. Such programmes need to be developed jointly by mental health services as well as Aboriginal stakeholders, and implemented in a culturally sensitive and acceptable way.