Help under construction: Current concepts of masculinity and its impact on men's help seeking
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This thesis thoroughly explores the dynamic between current conceptions of masculinity and resulting help-seeking practices in men, so as to promote a better understanding of the factors and context influencing men’s behaviors when experiencing symptoms of distress. By utilizing a qualitative, social constructionist research approach, room for variability among men and in one man’s experience opens the area of inquiry to not only if, but how men are seeking help, and at what times is this happening? This seems critical to attend to presently, as men have been deemed to be in a state of crisis with regards to their mental and physical health, with ties to traditional masculine ideals as been the catalyst for oppressive practices presented from discourses inspired by the #MeToo movement and unfair wage compensation for women, yet only a small fraction of those affected have sought formal-help and we need to know why. What was uncovered was that it appears that society is going through a transition period, where men are negotiating the ‘old roles’ and constructing help-seeking as a masculine act of courage. These men are also choosing alternative and/or indirect means of help-seeking, via online researching and forum groups, peer-group mediation, and adaptive self-help strategies such as self-monitoring and reframing problems, that have tended to either go unnoticed or dismissed by health-care professionals. This information can prove to be quite useful for counsellors in not only providing more viable support services for this population, but also in addressing our own biases formed as a result of our own socialization experiences, and how this can influence how we relate to males, as well as shape our beliefs around what may be considered as ‘valid’ help-seeking behaviors. Areas of further research are also explored.