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How do stressed New Zealand men get help when they need it?

Posted on 5 November 2012

Nobody’s too sure – that’s why the Mental Health Foundation is working with Open Polytechnic researcher Dr Peta Wellstead on a new project called “The information seeking behaviour of New Zealand men who may be experiencing life stress”.

Part of the project is a Kiwi men’s survey.

“From the survey, we will measure knowledge of information and support services, social network strength, pathways to help and support that men have used in the past,” Mental Health Foundation Chief Executive Judi Clements says.

“We are doing this in order to better target information and support when men are experiencing life stress that may impact on their mental health.”

Dr Wellstead is leading the project for the MHF. She says: “The Mental Health Foundation approached me after I presented a paper at the Wellbeing and Public Policy conference. My paper reported my PhD research which examined the information behaviour of Australian men.

“My [next] project will examine where New Zealand men go to for information, who they talk to and what works and doesn’t work when they are experiencing stressful life events and may need extra help and support.

“We will conduct an online survey during November (which is also Movember) and ask men questions about their information use. The Mental Health Foundation will then use the data I produce from the survey to provide information, products and support services to men in a more targeted way in order to improve their health outcomes.”

Opportunities will be explored for conducting community workshops throughout New Zealand and for presentations at conferences, both domestically and internationally.

The online survey is being promoted to men via a range of websites and communications, including through publicity for this year’s Movember campaign.

Dr Wellstead is the first Open Polytechnic first staff member to be approved ‘research focused’ status for two projects by the Open Polytechnic Research Committee.

The Open Polytechnic is New Zealand’s specialist provider of distance learning, delivering nationally recognised qualifications through New Zealand and internationally.


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