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Written by Karey Meisner

Have you ever wondered about the process that men, particularly traditional men, go through in seeking-help from informal others for a problem related to mental wellbeing? I did. So I spent five years writing a PhD about the topic to find out more.

What I found was that most men tend to go through a five-phase process of decision-making and, interestingly, the decision-making process is more related to whether to self-disclose the problem rather than actually asking for help for the problem. This, I came to understand, says how important it is for these men to retain the ability to self-manage. I also came to understand that throughout the five-phases, men place high importance on: retaining identity congruence, assessing risks to oneself and others, and assessing, retaining and regaining the capacity to function. It seems the assessment of these are critical in making the decision to disclose a problem to others in their social network. Another unexpected but encouraging outcome of the research was the process of decision-making tended to be progressive; once men made the intial decision to self-disclose their problem, their focus shifted from the perceived risks of self-disclosure to its perceived benefits, the turning point often demarcated by an event representing a crisis.