Barriers to help-seeking for mental health issues in young rural males
View fulltext online
Citation:Wright, K. (2022). Barriers to help-seeking for mental health issues in young rural males. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Professional Practice). Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand. https://doi.org/10.34074/thes.5858
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/5858
In New Zealand, poor mental health is a salient problem. We experience high suicide rates, and this rate increases when the lens of being young, rural, and male are applied. Traditionally, poor rural mental health has been something portrayed within the media as only applying to older farmers who own their land – and that the issues are more centred upon stock price fluctuations, adverse weather events and financial difficulties. While these issues have shown to be major catalysts for poor rural mental health in other countries such as Australia and Spain, in New Zealand, the scant studies that do exist have shown that we have been looking in the wrong places. These issues do exist, but it is overwhelmingly our young rural men that are experiencing the highest numbers of poor mental health and suicide rates in the agricultural industry. These poor mental health rates can be attributed to many factors, including personal relationship breakdown, interpersonal conflict, loneliness, and easy access to firearms and alcohol. It appears that young rural men in New Zealand mostly suffer in silence when it comes to poor mental health. A common precursor to many experiences of rural suicides was that “nobody saw it coming”. This research aims to dissect why this is so, and what professionals might be able to do about this problem. It is my hope that this research will provide a significant and innovative contribution to the leadership figureheads within the rural mental health sector, such as GPs, counsellors, psychologists and more. The questions that guided this research were: • What are the barriers to seeking help for mental health issues in young rural men in New Zealand? • What can practitioners do to help break down these barriers? • What does that look like in a practical, tangible sense? This study was undertaken using a sequential mixed-methods design, which consisted of an anonymous survey, in-depth interviews with participants who volunteered at the conclusion of the survey, and stakeholders whom I approached for interviews that hold positions of influence and/or authority within the agricultural community. It incorporates quantitative and qualitative research components that were examined autonomously and then construed collectively. These methods all played a part in comprehending the experiences of contributors. The findings of this research have demonstrated that the basic barriers to help-seeking are three-fold: knowledge-based, shame-based, and practical-based. Other recommendations include the need for employers to enlist some basic mental health knowledge training, and that practitioners be flexible and relatable. There were multiple other factors that needed to be understood within both the experiences of the young men in this demographic, and via delivery of mental health care from professional practitioners. This research critically evaluates and provides evidence on a multitude of levels around these barriers and will contribute significantly to the delivery of mental health care within this population.
Keywords:New Zealand, rural, youth, males, mental health, barriers
ANZSRC Field of Research:420313 Mental health services, 420321 Rural and remote health services, 441003 Rural sociology
Degree:Master of Professional Practice, Otago Polytechnic
Supervisors:Kirkwood, Jo; Mitchell, Carleen
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Rights:This digital work is protected by copyright. It may be consulted by you, provided you comply with the provisions of the Act and the following conditions of use. These documents or images may be used for research or private study purposes. Whether they can be used for any other purpose depends upon the Copyright Notice above. You will recognise the author's and publishers rights and give due acknowledgement where appropriate.
MetadataShow detailed record
This item appears in
The following license files are associated with this item: