Monday, June 08, 2009

Getting it off your chest

While the information in the report discusssed below pertains to Great Britain, most of it is very relevant to the New Zealand scene.
The report is called: Men and Mental Health – get it off your chest. It has some interesting and occasionally surprising things to say about men’s mental health.
One of its recommendations, for instance, is that health professionals should take gender into account when discussing treatment options with men. In other words, men have tended to be treated as less important in the mental health scene for a number of reasons which are discussed during the report.
Amongst these are a tendency for services are often ‘feminised.’
Many men ‘act out’ when having mental health issues, which often leads them to be criminalised because of their anti-social behaviour. The report reminds us that professionals need to recognise that ‘aggressive and violent behaviour is a potential indicator of mental distress.’
Men feel more comfortable discussing their issues in men-only groups, and if men are unemployed for too long they are likely candidates for depression. While partners or spouses may understand the man’s mental health, other family members often deride it.
There is also some discussion of mental health and gays, blacks and other minorities, and the elderly. Altogether this report makes essential reading.

For more information about men's groups, check out this article from the Sunday Star-Times, April 2009

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