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‘It’s made me feel less isolated because there are other people who are experiencing the same or very similar to you’: Men’s experiences of using mental health support groups

Vickery, Alex 2022. ‘It’s made me feel less isolated because there are other people who are experiencing the same or very similar to you’: Men’s experiences of using mental health support groups. Health and Social Care in the Community 30 (6) , pp. 2383-2391. 10.1111/hsc.13788

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Abstract

This article explores men's experiences of using peer support groups for coping with mental distress. Support groups are organised groups in which people come together to mutually support each other with a shared health concern. There has been increasing research on men's mental health help seeking, but men's use of support groups for mental health difficulties, and the ways support groups could benefit men, is not well understood. Drawing upon 19 interviews from a South Wales, UK qualitative study which explored men's mental health help seeking, coping and management, this article explores the perceived benefits of support groups for men experiencing emotional difficulties. Findings highlight how men who attended groups valued the sense of shared understanding of experiences and the mutual respect that group settings presented them with. Support groups provided a safe space with opportunities to reconstruct traditional masculine norms through reciprocating unique and tailored mental health support to others and developing a certain role within that group. This gave men a sense of purpose which further facilitated mental health management. Findings also indicated the social benefits that support groups can have to men who may have limited social networks or be experiencing isolation. This article adds to the growing literature that focuses on men's mental health experiences and illustrates the benefits of support groups for men in distress. The author suggests that primary services need to be aware of how support groups can positively support men and promote them as an opportunity for connection and unique support.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0966-0410
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 December 2022
Date of Acceptance: 2 March 2022
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 11:45
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/154970

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