The effectiveness of a media-based intervention promoting help-seeking for mental health difficulties by Australian men: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Angela Nicholas, Simone Scotti Requena, Maria Ftanou, Simon Rice, Justine Fletcher, Andrew Mackinnon, Zac E. Seidler, Long Khanh-Dao Le, Cathrine Mihalopoulos, Jane Elizabeth Pirkis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Approximately one fifth of Australian males aged 16+ experience mood, anxiety or substance use disorders in a given year, and suicide by males accounts for three quarters of all suicides annually. However, males with mental health problems are less likely to seek and receive help than their female counterparts. Media campaigns with videos at their core are gaining popularity as a means of promoting help-seeking for mental health difficulties, but few studies have rigorously tested the impact of such videos. This randomised controlled trial tests the effectiveness of a short video promoting help-seeking by Australian men.
Methods: This study is an online randomised controlled trial (RCT). Participants will attend an online group orientation session, where they will provide consent to participate and complete a baseline questionnaire (T1). After completion of the T1 questionnaire, participants will be randomised to watch either the intervention or control video on a 1:1 basis. After randomisation, participants will be able to access their allocated video for 1 week. Seven days after T1, participants will again be sent links to the video and to the post-exposure questionnaire (T2). One month after T2, participants will be emailed the follow-up questionnaire (T3). The primary outcome will be change in help-seeking intentions from T1 to T2. Secondary outcomes will be changes in help-seeking intentions from T1 to T3, changes in intentions to encourage other males to seek help, self-reliance, and male depression symptoms from T1 to T2 and from T1 to T3. The cost-effectiveness of the intervention will be evaluated. Participants will also complete questions about their opinions of the video and its effects at T2 and T3.
Discussion: Our video-based intervention is designed to promote help-seeking for mental health difficulties among Australian men. If a lack of net harm is shown to be associated with viewing the intervention video, the video will be publicly released and could have broad impacts on individual and community attitudes towards help-seeking for mental health difficulties, and ultimately enhance men’s mental health and wellbeing. An evaluation of the effectiveness of the intervention is essential to ensure the intervention is achieving its objectives.
Original languageEnglish
Article number288
Number of pages12
JournalTrials
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2022

Keywords

  • Male
  • Media
  • Men
  • Help-seeking
  • Masculine
  • Masculinity
  • Mental health
  • Suicide
  • Suicide prevention
  • Video

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