The help seeking behaviour of Australian men during stressful life events: an exploration of information exchange relationships
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In recognition of the particular issues related to health and wellbeing considerable government and community resources have been forthcoming in recent times for the development of information products and support services to assist members of the community to seek help for issues related to their health and wellbeing. Notwithstanding this investment, research from studies into help seeking by Australian men shows that men are not aware of these information products and services have difficulty mobilising help during periods of physical ill health and mental stress. Men are over reported in the statistics for premature death in Australia and male suicide is a significant public health issue in Australia. Aspects of Australian culture may lead to increased risk of poor health, harming behaviours and suicide in Australian men. Social norms may also impact on low levels of voluntary help seeking by Australian men.At the core of this research is an examination of the information seeking behaviour of a group of Australian men who engaged in help-seeking during a significant, and stressful, life event. The research also canvassed the opinions of this group of men and a group of professionals who offer help and support to men during stressful life events for their opinions on effective strategies to engage men about the worth of early help seeking to enhance physical and mental health.This thesis also examines a range of existing models which seek to explain human information behaviour and the variety of ways which individuals access and use information in a range of contexts. It explores how these models can increase understanding of men’s information seeking for personal decision making and personal change. Research which provides data on the possible protective role of healthy emotional attachment systems, together with the role of social and emotional support across the life span, and the information delivery capacity of this support, is also examined.The research leads to recommendations for enhanced social policy to support men’s information needs during periods of life stress. It also makes recommendations for enhanced praxis in order that information practitioners, and the agencies in which they work, may better engage with men with information products and support systems which will lead to increased personal wellbeing for men and their families.
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