The number of Australian men seeking clinical intervention to deal with depression has increased by approximately 10% in the last 10 years, said researcher Zac Seidler, but men still account for three quarters of Australia's suicides. The overall number of suicides has largely remained static in that time.
"A lot more of men now seek help but many aren't engaging with their treatment and therefore don't stay as long as they should," he noted, adding, "With available data suggesting many men who commit suicide seek professional help beforehand, this is a critical period in many people's lives, and one we ought to be getting right."
Based on in-depth interviews with 20 Australian men suffering mild to moderate depression, Seidler's research explored treatment regimens and found them wanting. Most clinicians mistakenly assumed clients understood the treatment process. Few gave their clients goals to work towards or outlined skills they could gain to deal with their depression.
The research showed that most mental health strategies have a heavier emphasis on unstructured talk therapy. While offering some short-term benefits, many men participating in his research found a lack of structure and progress to be a waste of time and money. In some cases, they found a 'talkfest' had a detrimental effect, making them angrier.
Seidler and colleagues are currently creating a men's mental health treatment training program for clinicians (Man Island) to help address some of the practical concerns raised by this research and to help ensure men get the treatment they want and need.
The study is published in Australian Psychologist. (ANI)