Data shows lack of young men accessing mental health services

NEW Kids Helpline data shows a lack of young men are accessing the mental health services.

The data, released on Tuesday 12, showed that only 22 per cent of counselling contacts to the helpline are from young men.

Kids Helpline is a service of Yourtown and is Australia’s only national 24.7 counselling support service for those aged 5 to 25.

Yourtown chief executive officer Tracy Adams expressed concern in response to the data.

“We know that help-seeking behaviours of young men is still very low. This is very concerning and suggests that young males may still feel stigma around mental health and fear that it will be seen as weak to seek help, or to talk about feelings.”

Young women remain the highest group of those seeking help from the service, while young men are the lowest.

The data has shown significant change in the number of young men seeking support.

Ms Adams said “there is evidence that seeking professional help by boys or young men may not be improving as much as we would have hoped.

We continue to see the portrayal of mental ill-health in a way that perpetuates stigma and myths about mental illness. We are keen to encourage and normalise help-seeking behaviours in males of any age”.

According to Kids Helpline in 2011 approximately one-third of contacts were young men – now they account for one-fifth.

The helpline reported that mental health, emotional wellbeing and suicide-related issues accounted for 61 per cent of counselling contacts in the last financial year.

COVID-19 has impacted the mental health of many Australians, and Ms Adams is encouraging young men to be among those seeking support.

“With COVID-19 continuing to impact the way we live, socialise and gain education it is more important than ever for young men to reach out and seek support when they need it.

However it is simply not enough to ask them to reach out. We also need to design services to meet their needs, ensure that we build on the work done to date to reduce the stigma of mental health and promote positive role modelling so that young men have an example to follow,” she said.

“Beyond the pandemic, mental ill-health in young people is likely to be significant and long-lasting. Kids Helpline offers phone, WebChat, email and peer-to-peer group counselling as well as a range of resources,” she said.