Objective: Young men are very reluctant to seek help for anxiety disorders. In particular, the factors that facilitate mental health help-seeking in adolescent males are poorly understood. This study aimed to investigate the barriers and facilitating factors to help-seeking behaviour for clinical anxiety in Australian adolescent males. Method: The views of 29 adolescent males, both with and without experience of clinical anxiety symptoms, were elicited using semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Verbatim transcripts were analysed using grounded theory. Results: Primary barriers to help-seeking included stigma (particularly in relation to social norms of masculinity), effort, limited awareness/knowledge of symptoms of anxiety and a sense of being 'confronted' by private emotions through help-seeking. Facilitating factors included increasing the accessibility of school-based mental health literacy programs and providing a wider range of formal and informal help-seeking options. Other facilitators related to amendments in how mental health information is presented and investments into high speed/low effort help-seeking options. A preliminary model of mental health help-seeking in adolescent males with clinical anxiety is presented. Conclusion: Adolescent males feel that they risk significant stigma by help-seeking for mental health problems but lack information as to the benefits or the experience of help seeking. A stepped approach to options for mental health support and information for this population should be evaluated.
- mental health