Impact of COVID-19 restrictions on men's mental health services in Australia
Men's Health Journal,
Vol. 4 No. 1 (2020),
Introduction: Mental health services in Australia have faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic in adopting the new changes to reach service users. The rapid changes in the situation and surge in the number of people seeking help or in crisis have led services to use many strategies which they would not have considered in normal situations. The services working with men were especially experiencing the difficulty in fulfilling the needs of their clients as the evidence shows that Australian men’s help seeking behaviour is lower than women. Materials and Methods: A survey was conducted online to ascertain the level of impact on their services, their client groups and the lessons learned during online service delivery. The survey was conducted by Australian Men’s Health Forum with 20 questions, both with multiple choice and narrative answer options. Results: In total, 53 male-specific services have responded. 81% made changes to their services; 43% enabled their staff and volunteers to work from home; 84% adopted strategies to conduct their meeting virtually with clients. Conclusion: Most services made significant changes such as phone/video counselling, but felt that this cannot be the norm post-pandemic as it lacks the empathic human touch to service delivery. Innovative strategies were developed to reach men living in remote/rural areas with no cost or travel time. However, there are many concerns about vulnerable groups such as older adults, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and men living in remote areas, who have limited access to electronic devices and reliable internet access. Implications: These findings have implications for reorienting frontline health services, particularly in times of widespread crisis when service delivery models need to change. There is, therefore, a direct consequence for building healthy public policy in relation to the health of men and boys from marginalised/vulnerable groups that incorporates healthy environments and positive social connections.
How to Cite
Cucinotta D, Vanelli M. WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic. Acta Bio Medica: Atenei Parmensis. 2020;91(1):157.
Usher K, Bhullar N, Jackson D. Life in the pandemic: Social isolation and mental health. Journal of Clinical Nursing. 2020.
Bornheimer LA, Li J, Im V, Taylor M, Himle JA. The Role of Social Isolation in the Relationships Between Psychosis and Suicidal Ideation. Clinical Social Work Journal. 2020;48(1):54-62.
World Health Organization. WHO: Suicide prevention 2020 [Available from: https://www.who.int/health-topics/suicide#tab=tab_1
Wand APF, Zhong B-L, Chiu HFK, Draper B, De Leo D. Covid-19: The implications for suicide in older adults. International Psychogeriatrics. 2020:1-16.
Health AGDo. Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID‐19). 2020.
Zhou X, Snoswell CL, Harding LE, Bambling M, Edirippulige S, Bai X, et al. The role of telehealth in reducing the mental health burden from COVID-19. Telemedicine and e-Health. 2020;26(4):377-9.
Statistics ABo. 3303.0–Causes of Death, Australia, 2016. Australian Bureau of Statistics Canberra, Australia; 2017.
Torales J, O’Higgins M, Castaldelli-Maia JM, Ventriglio A. The outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus and its impact on global mental health. International Journal of Social Psychiatry. 2020:0020764020915212.
Seidler ZE, Rice SM, Kealy D, Oliffe JL, Ogrodniczuk JS. Once bitten, twice shy: Dissatisfaction with previous therapy and its implication for future help-seeking among men. The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine. 2020:0091217420905182.
Van den Broucke S. Why health promotion matters to the COVID-19 pandemic, and vice versa. Oxford University Press; 2020.
Rosen A, Gurr R, Fanning P. The future of community-centred health services in Australia: lessons from the mental health sectorA. Australian Health Review. 2010;34(1):106-15.
Baker P, White A, Morgan R. Men's health: COVID-19 pandemic highlights need for overdue policy action. The Lancet. 2020;395(10241):1886-8.
Lattie EG, Nicholas J, Knapp AA, Skerl JJ, Kaiser SM, Mohr DC. Opportunities for and tensions surrounding the use of technology-enabled mental health services in community mental health care. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research. 2020;47(1):138-49.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Mental health services in Australia Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; 2020 [Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/mental-health-services/mental-health-services-in-australia/report-contents/summary-of-mental-health-services-in-australia.
Tan AHT, Muskat B, Johns R. The role of empathy in the service experience. Journal of Service Theory and Practice. 2019.
Greenberg N, Docherty M, Gnanapragasam S, Wessely S. Managing mental health challenges faced by healthcare workers during covid-19 pandemic. bmj. 2020;368.
World Health Organization. Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak, 18 March 2020. World Health Organization; 2020.
Dickerson D, Baldwin JA, Belcourt A, Belone L, Gittelsohn J, Kaholokula JKa, et al. Encompassing cultural contexts within scientific research methodologies in the development of health promotion interventions. Prevention Science. 2020;21(1):33-42.
Duan L, Zhu G. Psychological interventions for people affected by the COVID-19 epidemic. The Lancet Psychiatry. 2020;7(4):300-2.
D'Agostino A, Demartini B, Cavallotti S, Gambini O. Mental health services in Italy during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Lancet Psychiatry. 2020;7(5):385-7.
- Abstract Viewed: 2969 times
- pdf Downloaded: 207 times