A qualitative study was conducted in rural New South Wales, Australia, to understand the barriers to help-seeking among young rural men with emergent mental health problems. Participants who had real life experiences of these problems within their families were interviewed. Themes emerged from the data which explained some barriers to early intervention. Despite these barriers, families had developed skills in helping and in providing early mental health help to their sons. The findings of this study showed that a substantial burden on the emotional and social integrity of the family, combined with diminished psychological well-being, caused some parents to question how long they could cope before they reached ‘the end of their strings’. This downward spiralling trajectory of mental health and well-being for both the young men and their families has implications for clinical practice. Current models of mental health service delivery do not adequately capture the early help-seeking dynamics of young rural men and their families. A more flexible approach is needed to identify and help the family and the young men, without the pre-requisite for a formal medical diagnosis. Future research should involve health and well-being solution focused service delivery.
Wilson, R., Cruickshank, M., & Lea, J. 2013. Contemporary nurse: a journal for the Australian nursing profession 42(2):167-77. DOI: 10.5172/conu.2012.42.2.167