Research projects

The role of the media in encouraging men to seek help for depression or anxiety

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Proudly supported by The Movember Foundation.

Principal researchers

Prof Jane Pirkis
Dr Kylie King
Dr Anna Machlin
Mr Andrew Dare

Institution

Centre for Health Policy, Programs and Economics, Melbourne School of Population Health, University of Melbourne

Funding

$159,076

Award type

beyondblue National Priority Driven Research Program

Project completion year

2014

Main messages

  • The media has a strong impact on the public’s perceptions of mental illness.
  • Men report a lower rate of depression and/or anxiety than women, and they seek help at a much lower rate.
  • Promoting help-seeking amongst men for depression and/or anxiety is fundamental to improving men’s mental health.
  • The language and focus of a newsprint story about depression and/or anxiety has a real impact on men with depression and/or anxiety.
  • Men can be encouraged to seek help for depression and/or anxiety through the use of media campaigns that work to increase symptom recognition, reduce stigma and encourage help-seeking. Men are also encouraged to seek help by disclosures of depression and/or anxiety by celebrities, or those men can easily identify with, that have an optimistic focus on recovery.
  • National helplines have a role to play in assisting men to seek help and find service pathways for the treatment of depression and/or anxiety.
  • Some work is still needed to improve the reporting of depression and/or anxiety in newsprint. In particular, helplines should always been mentioned in articles that feature depression and/or anxiety. Articles featuring depression and/or anxiety should also maintain an optimistic focus on recovery wherever possible.

Download the final report