Canadian men reluctant to consult mental health services

May 22, 2009

Between 20 and 70 percent of Canadians affected by mental illness shun medical treatment. Such avoidance of services provided by doctors and psychologists is particularly acute among men, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research.

In Canada, less than 10 percent of the population utilizes mental health services for problems ranging from depression to schizophrenia. But this number isn't representative of the real number of people suffering from mental illness, according study author Aline Drapeau, a researcher at the Université de Montréal's Department of Psychiatry and Centre de recherche Fernand-Seguin of the Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital.

According to data from the Statistics Canada Canadian Community Health Survey, women are 1.5 times more likely than men to turn to psychiatric services, twice as likely to consult a psychologist and 2.5 times more likely to turn to a general practitioner.

While these numbers might suggest that more women suffer from , Drapeau disagrees. "In comparable circumstances, women consult more often than men," she says. The discrepancy, says Drapeau, shows how men and women do not perceive symptoms in the same way as programmed in their social anchorages.

"Social anchorages is an enculturation mechanism by which a person learns his or her social roles," says Drapeau. "Men and women don't always have the same cultural reference points because socially acceptable attitudes and behaviors can vary for both sexes."

For instance, parental obligations aren't perceived equally in the workplace. For women, it is perceived as positive to attend to maternal duties. For men, forgoing work to take care of the kids is perceived more negatively.

The same parallels exist in mental health. "If mental disease is seen in a negative light in the workplace, a man will be more reluctant than a woman to use the services available to treat their disease," says Drapeau.

Other factors, such as tight finances or even type of employment, can influence whether men use services. But the root of the problem, Drapeau stresses, is that men have greater difficulty acknowledging and accepting their symptoms.

Source: University of Montreal (news : web)

Explore further: Norovirus in food outlets to be mapped for first time

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Impact of narcotics is greater on mentally ill

Feb 06, 2009

Narcotics have an irreversible effect on the brains of people already suffering from mental illness, according to Dr. Stéphane Potvin of the Université de Montréal affiliated Centre de recherche Fernand-Seguin ...

Common beliefs about gender and health

Apr 19, 2005

Lay perceptions about gender differences in health are the subject of new research published today in the International Journal of Epidemiology (IJE), edited in the Department of Social Medicine at Bristol University. Professor Sal ...

Study: Women handle status loss better

Sep 15, 2005

British researchers say men who slide down the social ladder during their lifetime take the blow much harder than women in the same position.

Religion habit cuts anxiety in women

Jan 01, 2008

For many, religious activity changes between childhood and adulthood, and a new study finds this could affect one’s mental health.

Recommended for you

Impact of whooping cough vaccination revealed

2 hours ago

The most comprehensive study to date of the family of bacteria that causes whooping cough points to more effective vaccine strategies and reveals surprising findings about the bacteria's origin and evolution. The new results ...

Saudi announces 11 new MERS infections

6 hours ago

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday announced 11 new cases of MERS, including a 13-year-old child, as its acting health minister vowed to keep the public better informed on the coronavirus.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Deliberation is staunchest ally of selfishness

(Medical Xpress)—Over the last two years, Yale psychologist David Rand and colleagues have investigated what makes people willing to help each other. Their latest research shows that while initial reactions ...

Researchers compare hip width and sexual behavior

In a new study, women who were more inclined to have one-night stands had wider hips, reveals Colin A. Hendrie of the University of Leeds in the UK. He is the lead author of a study into how a woman's build influences her ...

How many moons does Venus have?

There are dozens upon dozens of moons in the Solar System, ranging from airless worlds like Earth's Moon to those with an atmosphere (most notably, Saturn's Titan). Jupiter and Saturn have many moons each, ...