Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre

MHIRC: Resource Kit 4: Practitioners’ Guide to Men and Mental Health

mhirc kit4 This guide takes a mental health promotion, population health and systems approach to men’s mental health. Mental health promotion seeks to positively influence determinants of mental health through effective interventions.

"Any attention on the individual should not be at the expense of considering the social structures that make problem-focused mental health difficulties a possibility in contemporary society..."


Practitioners will come into contact with males at every life stage and key transition point. The main messages from this guide emphasise:

  • The importance of taking a life span, life stage, and key transition points approach to males across all age groups where each stage or transition point warrants care and attention to avert mental health problems and to strengthen positive mental health.
  • Suicide rates in males remain a persistent and disturbing fact. All professionals in contact with men should be aware of men’s expressions of distress.
  • Determinants and their interaction can effect men’s mental health bi-directionally – positively (protective factors) or negatively (risk factors).
  • Particular attention needs to be given to men at risk of poor health outcomes with specific focus on key transitions and at risk groups.
  • Protective Factors, Internal and External Resources, and Mental Health Literacy can all contribute to coping strategies which improve and sustain men’s mental health.

Men’s mental health involves the interaction within and between the positive determinants including the role of practitioners and the environments which foster or threaten the balance of a man’s mental health.

The quality of the practitioner/male relationship is crucial in engaging with men effectively and towards positive health.

In contrast to the stereotypical view that ‘men don’t talk’, there is evidence that men are indeed willing to talk about difficult issues including emotions that are hard to bear. Males at any life stage or transition point just need a safe, trusting environment in which to do so.

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