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"Talk about it": An analysis of masculinity and mental health in rural Southern Manitoba

Authors: Rachel Herron*, Brandon University, Mairo Esther Ahmadu, Rural Community Health Lab, Brandon University, Candice Waddell, Department of Psychiatric Nursing, Faculty of Health Studies, Brandon University, Jonathan Allan, Gender and Women's Studies, Brandon University, Kerstin Roger, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Social Geography, Cultural Geography
Keywords: rural, mental health, men
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Rural men’s mental health has been described by some scholars as a “silent crisis.” Rural men report lower levels of stress and depression and, paradoxically, much higher rates of suicide. Research has linked this reality to certain practices, values, and meanings that can be associated with dominant forms of masculinity in all places, and with particular social, cultural, and economic practices in rural places. Health geographers have an important contribution to make to this growing area of research with particular attention to the role of place in changing masculinities as well as mental health experiences and perceptions. In this presentation, we draw on semi-structured interviews with 24 adult male participants (aged 20-70 years) in Southern Manitoba to explore their understandings of what it means to be a “healthy man” experiencing mental health problems and emotional distress. More specifically, we explore how and where men in the study “talk about it,” their perspectives of what it means to be a healthy man, and place-based barriers to service use and effective coping strategies. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of these findings for rural development as well as health and social care.

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