Male mental health: Unpacking the barriers and bridging the gap -

Male mental health: Unpacking the barriers and bridging the gap

Adult male in therapy session

Setting the stage: The state of male mental health

Unfortunately, the subject of male mental health is often overlooked and stigmatised, although it has finally started to gain the attention it deserves. While it impacts both genders, men and women alike, certain socio-cultural constructs, along with ingrained personal beliefs, tend to pose distinct challenges for men when grappling with mental health issues.

The U.S National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) paints a rather sombre picture, stating that nearly 22.8% of adult males faced some form of mental illness in 2019. In Australia, one in five Australians aged between 16-85 are likely to experience a mental health disorder within a year, as indicated by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). These figures highlight the scale of the problem and the urgent need to address male mental health specifically.

The hard road to therapy: Unveiling the obstacles and underlining the significance of professional support

Despite the high prevalence of mental health disorders among men, professional health services in this demographic are significantly under-utilised.

Only 34.9% of males with mental health issues in the U.S received mental health services in the past year, and the numbers aren’t much better in Australia, where only 13.3% of men compared to 22.3% of women used mental health services according to AIHW.

Several complex factors contribute to this scenario. Men are often burdened by societal norms that link masculinity with resilience and invincibility, making it hard for them to seek help. Additionally, there is a general lack of awareness about the symptoms of mental health issues, coupled with a preference for self-reliance that hampers men’s ability to reach out for professional support. In short, men continue to remain reluctant to seek professional assistance for health matters.

The role of therapy in managing mental health cannot be underestimated. Therapy offers a safe, empathetic and confidential environment, allowing individuals to express their feelings, understand their thought processes and develop crucial coping strategies. An extensive amount of research demonstrates the effectiveness of therapy in managing diverse mental health issues. There is a natural resistance for many men to engage in psychological therapy or seek out emotional support, despite the clear benefits.

Looking ahead: Picturing a future of enhanced male mental health

Paving the way for a brighter future with enhanced male mental wellness calls for collaborative and multidimensional endeavours.

 We must challenge and transform societal norms, reduce the stigma around male mental health, promote awareness and make mental health services more accessible.

There is considerable opportunity for early intervention initiatives, using home-based therapies such as calming devices and assistive technologies, for men in particular. Innovative tools and therapies can play an instrumental role in this journey by offering an accessible, private and non-stigmatising solution for managing stress and anxiety.

By providing men with the ability to actively manage their mental wellbeing, innovative tools can bolster resilience, improve quality of life and reduce the reliance on professional services. Men require tailored and engaging programs to effectively address a natural reluctance to seek help or guidance. It is clear that the needs of boys and men, within the mental health space, require a drastic rethink especially in relation to early intervention.

The advent of bobi: An innovative approach to male mental health

As we navigate this intricate male mental health landscape, self-help tools like bobi offer a beacon of hope. bobi, an innovative consumer wellness device and calming device, is designed to guide users in adopting optimal breathing techniques – methods scientifically proven to mitigate stress and anxiety. By facilitating deep, controlled breathing exercises, bobi provides an effective, user-friendly, and private avenue for men to independently manage their mental health, serving as a valuable complement to professional therapy when available.


To build a healthier, happier society, it’s crucial to foster an environment where mental health is recognised as a universal priority, irrespective of gender. We need to create a future where men feel comfortable seeking help and where tools like bobi are readily available to offer them a valuable means to manage their mental health. With shared effort and commitment, we can bridge the gap in male mental wellness. So take a deep breath, let bobi guide you, and embark on your journey.


  1. Why is there a stigma around men seeking mental health support?

    The stigma is a derivative of traditional gender norms and societal expectations that emphasise stoicism and strength as hallmarks of masculinity.

  1. What are some common mental health issues affecting men?

    Men can be affected by a wide array of mental health issues, including depression, stress, anxiety, PTSD, and substance use disorders.

  1. How can men recognise symptoms of mental health issues?

    Symptoms can vary significantly, but generally include changes in mood, behaviour, or thinking, such as persistent sadness, excessive worry, difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, withdrawal from social activities, or loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities.

  1. Why do some men prefer self-reliance to seeking professional help?

    The cultural and societal portrayal of men as independent and self-sufficient often compels men to perceive seeking help as a sign of weakness or an affront to their masculinity.

  1. How can self-help tools like bobi support men in managing their mental health?

bobi is a breathing device for anxiety. bobi instructs users in optimal breathing techniques for managing stress and anxiety. Regular use of bobi can significantly enhance mental health, providing a practical, accessible way to manage stress and anxiety.


  1. National Institute of Mental Health. (2019). Mental Illness.
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2022). Mental health services in Australia, Prevalence, impact and burden.
  3. Lambert, M. J., & Barley, D. E. (2001). Research summary on the therapeutic relationship and psychotherapy outcome. Psychotherapy: Theory, research, practice, training, 38(4), 357.

Written by Damien Thomas BA(Psych); GradDipPsych; MPsych(Org), MAPS

Mr. Damien Thomas completed his Master in Organisational Psychology at Macquarie University, Sydney. He has over 20 years’ experience as a psychologist and has specialised in the field of adolescent psychology. Damien also worked within the field of national security, including counter terrorism operations, and war crimes investigations. Through his previous work he has featured in numerous international media publications including: The Australian, The Globe and Mail, New York Times, and BBC (radio).

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