HEALTH / WELL-BEING

‘We’ve got to break down the shame’: Portrayals of Men’s Depression

Article

This research discusses ways in which the Australian news media’s portrayal of depressed men challenges or reproduces the stigma associated with men seeking help for their mental health.

Abstract

News articles play a role in whether stigma is reproduced or challenged. In turn, stigma can be a barrier to men seeking help with their mental health. This research uses discursive analytic principles to analyze portrayals of male communication about depression in news articles over a 5 year period. Findings indicate that some news articles depict men who are open about depression and as a result experience positive recovery outcomes. Such depictions might challenge stigma associated with men talking about mental health concerns. However, some articles problematically position depressed men as individually responsible for defying stigma and achieving recovery. We suggest that portraying depression as something that impacts a plurality of men is one way media messages might dispel stigma. We make recommendations, based on the findings, regarding the language that could be used by media, mental health campaigns and health service providers, to mitigate the impact of stigma on men's mental health help-seeking.

Full Reference

Scholz, B., Crabb, S. and Wittert G., 2014. "We've got to break down the shame": Portrayals of Men's Depression". Qualitative Health Research. 24 (12),1648-57.