A discourse analysis of men's perspectives on seeking help from mental health services

Prof Doc Thesis

Grove, Patrick 2005. A discourse analysis of men's perspectives on seeking help from mental health services. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsGrove, Patrick
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Recent research has indicated that men do not tend to seek help from mental health
services when experiencing emotional distress. In the Introduction, I outline the men's
help-seeking literature, before describing a social constructionist approach to
masculinity and the possibilities of this framework for investigating the problem of
men's help-seeking. I then examine literature to argue that Western conceptions of
mental health and masculinity draw upon similar discourses and I suggest that men's
help-seeking for emotional distress involves behaving in a way contrary to the
construction of Western masculinity. This discussion leads to the present research: a
discourse analysis of men's perspectives on seeking help from mental health services.
The research aim was to identify which discourses and identities were available to
men when they talked about help-seeking from services, and therefore to identify
which individual actions and social practices seemed reasonable. I interviewed eight
men, four of whom had sought help, and four who had not. In the Analysis, I examine
the men's use of language and the effects that this had when accomplishing them as
masculine. Similar discourses were drawn upon by both groups however these were
deployed in different ways, constructing male help-seekers as masculine or not so.
The analysis also demonstrates the extent of the rhetorical work that help-seekers had
to employ to construct help-seeking as masculine.
In the Discussion, I summarise the analysis and examine the implications for
individual action and broader social practice and policy. I outline the implications for
the help-seeking literature and for social constructionist understandings of
masculinity. I then examine the application of my findings to individual psychological
therapy and broader mental health promotion for men. I reflexively examine the
research with regards to my own identity and positioning, and the validity of my
reading of the transcripts.

Publication dates
PrintSep 2005
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Jun 2014
Additional information

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