Gender is a key determinant of an individual's sense of self. It is therefore essential that service provision is devised, delivered and developed in a gender sensitive-manner. Nurses in primary care are ideally placed to make a significant contribution to the overall goal of treating all mental health service users as individuals, greatly enhancing their ability to deliver person-centered healthcare and services.
The difficulty that many men have in reaching out for help has serious consequences not only for the men themselves, but also for women, children, families and communities. Men often 'act out' when they are emotionally distressed and may drink, use drugs, be irritable or become aggressive. When experiencing mental distress, many men tend to externalise their symptoms and may display disruptive, violent and antisocial behaviour.1 Men are more likely than women to develop a drug or alcohol problem, and 95 per cent of the prison population is male.2
For nurses, developing an understanding of the mental health issues that thousands of men are struggling to cope with every day can help them to help those men.