Towards a gendered perspective for Irish mental health policy and service provision.

Department of Nursing, School of Health Sciences , Waterford Institute of Technology , Waterford , Ireland.
Journal of Mental Health (Impact Factor: 1.01). 09/2012; DOI: 10.3109/09638237.2012.714513
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Background: The Irish Government has adopted "Gender Mainstreaming" as a strategy to promote equal opportunities between women and men in its National Development Plan. While current mental health policy addresses the principle of partnership and social inclusiveness as a way forward for mental health service provision, it still does not explicitly deal with the notion of gender and gender sensitivity. Indeed, Irish mental health policy and service provision is criticised for being gender-neutral. Aim: This paper explores the relationship between gender, mental health policy and service provision. Method: The literature on theoretical perspectives on mental health policy, gender and mental health in relation to Irish mental health policy is reviewed. Results: The importance of gender for policy development and service provision is recognised, and the need to reformulate debate within a gendered context is discussed. Some key theoretical perspectives and their significance for mental health policy are considered with possible explanations for the absence of a gender perspective for Irish mental health policy presented. Conclusion: Arguably, a move towards developing gender-sensitive mental health policy and service provision requires a stronger awareness of and connections between the macro, meso and micro levels for policy development and analysis.

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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Background: Men's health help-seeking behaviours vary considerably depending on the context. The current empirical literature on the influence of masculinity on college men's attitudes towards mental health-related help-seeking is largely limited to investigations involving psychology students. Aim: To describe the connections between masculinities and college men's depression-related help-seeking. Methods: Qualitative interviews with 21 college men who were diagnosed or self-identified as depressed. Constant comparison was used to inductively derive gendered understandings about participants' depression-related help-seeking. Results: Three themes were identified: (1) denying weakness; (2) limiting self-disclosure and mustering autonomy; and (3) redefining strength. Conclusion: The findings demonstrate connections between masculinities and help-seeking that can assist health care providers to understand the practices of college men who experience depression.
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